Failure to Launch?

Studio demands this explicit gay sex scene cut from Elton John biopic ‘Rocketman’

Not long after the first footage debuted for the long-anticipated Elton John biopic Rocketman, reports have emerged that studio executives want a key love scene cut.

A little backstory…

Kingsman star Taron Egerton steps into the platform shoes of the musical legend, while Richard Madden (of Game of Thrones fame) plays John’s sometime manager and boyfriend John Reid. Sources describe their relationship as central to the film, and Egerton has previously stated that director Dexter Fletcher (who took over duties on Bohemian Rhapsody after the firing of Bryan Singer) intends to make a film that stays authentic to John’s homosexuality.

That would include at least one love scene between John and Reid which would also feature partial nudity from Egerton and Madden.

Related: WATCH: Taron Egerton becomes Elton John in first ‘Rocketman’ trailer

Now reports have emerged that Paramount Pictures, the studio behind the film, has asked Fletcher to cut the scene, fearing it might warrant an R rating from the MPAA. The studio fears that an R rating would render severe damage to the film’s box office prospects, whereas a PG-13 rating would help repeat the recent success of Bohemian Rhapsody, which made more than $215 million in the US alone.

That film came under criticism for “straightwasing” the bisexual character of Freddie Mercury and for its shying away from explicit gay sex scenes, though the movie made Mercury’s bisexuality clear.

Rocketman opens this May.