Coming after last year’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the Queen biopic that won lead star Rami Malek a Best Actor Oscar, another film chronicling the life of a major recording artist is now making waves on the big screen. This is Paramount Pictures’ “Rocketman,” starring Welsh actor Taron Egerton as Elton John. While both Elton and Queen’s Freddie Mercury are well-known for their homosexual relations, compared to the latter’s sanitized treatment on “Bohemian Rhapsody” the former gets an on-screen gay male sex scene in “Rocketman”, the first in a Hollywood production. The sequence was so shocking for a mainstream movie that the Russian release heavily edited the movie, much to the protest of the real Elton John.
Entertainment Tonight has it that music legend Elton John was very critical of the extreme modifications done to “Rocketman” to allow for its screening in the Russian Federation. According to the film’s distributor in the country, Central Partnership, the excision of all sex scenes and portrayals of drug use was in conformity with standing legislation in Russia. But Elton has taken exception to the edits and released a statement with his official word on the matter last Friday, May 31.
“We reject in the strongest possible terms the decision to pander to local laws and censor Rocketman for the Russian market, a move we were unaware of until today,” read the artist’ statement. “That the local distributor has edited out certain scenes, denying the audience the opportunity to see the film as it was intended is a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people.” Elton also praised Paramount Pictures for being “bold and brave” partner in realizing a biographical picture that strives to truly depict his extraordinary life story, “warts and all.”
“Rocketman” stars Taron Egerton as now-Sir Elton John (CBE), from his early life as Reginald Dwight, to making it big in the recording industry, to embracing the flamboyant stage persona that came with his sexual orientation, only to be exploited through it by his unscrupulous manager. The film also stars Jamie Bell as Elton’s lifelong musical collaborator Bernie Taupin, and “Game of Thrones’” Richard Madden as his manager John Reid.
The statement from Elton ends with a promise that they will continue in the breaking down of barriers around the world to eventually achieve equal treatment to all peoples, via open dialogue and building bridges. The legendary musician is currently married to Canadian filmmaker David Furnish. They have two children.
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