Rocketman star Taron Egerton has reiterated earlier sentiments that he does not want the film’s gay content censored, even if that means a lower box office haul.
Egerton, who had a breakout as the lead in the Kingsman film series, had previously said that the upcoming biopic in which he plays gay rock star Elton John would deal with the singer’s sexuality in a frank way. In a new interview, he’s doubled down on that sentiment, insisting that the film not undergo cuts to tone down the content.
“That’s why I made the film,” Egerton says when asked about graphic content in Rocketman, including explicit scenes of gay sex. “Those scenes are desperately important when you have an icon of that magnitude, who means so much to one community.”
Egerton’s comments come, in part, as a reference to the release of Bohemian Rhapsody, the biopic of bisexual singer Freddie Mercury, undergoing heavy edits for the Chinese market. Earlier this year, rumors circulated that Rocketman would have similar cuts, both to soften the rating in the US from R to PG-13 and to appeal to foreign distributors. The actor insists that those rumors are false. “It’s a studio movie,” he notes. “It’s Elton John. We’ve got to own that. I don’t care how well the film does in Russia. It doesn’t matter. It can’t matter. What’s an extra $25 million at the box office? What are you willing to do for that? Sacrifice sleeping at night because you watered the whole thing down?”
Producer David Furnish, the husband of Elton John, echoed Egerton’s comments. “International cinema is complicated and sadly the world isn’t a homogenous place,” Funish said. “I heard Bohemian Rhapsody is going to China with any reference to Freddie being gay taken out of it. Well, you can’t do that with our film, I’ll tell you that. It’s integral to Elton’s journey as an individual and as an artist. I would strongly resist any sanitisation. The world continues to need to evolve and grow in the right direction. As it goes into that international distribution and marketing machine, you just have to do your best to preserve the integrity.”
The comments by Egerton and Furnish seem to support earlier studio denials that Rocketman would get trimmed for content. The movie opens in theatres this May.