As the new hybrid genre ‘musical biopics’ continues to rise, Rocketman set for release in May 2019 certainly seems to be one to watch. Elton John is one of the most iconic singer-songwriters of all time. With his outrageously bold costumes and selection of massive hits, it was only a matter of time until his story was turned into a feature length film. After the critical success of Bohemian Rhapsody (2019), Rocketman has the potential to be a true award season contender in 2020. Even though I personally have had my eye on this movie since it was casted and entered production, I don’t think I have seen the amount excitement towards this film as I think it deserves, which is why I am bring you five reasons to look forward to one of this year’s strong summer movie season contenders. Checkout the trailer below.
1. The Cast
It is without a doubt that Rocketman’s acting ensemble is composed of a stellar group of actors. The lead role of Elton John is played by the incredibly diverse actor, Taron Egerton, best known for his role as roadman turned gentleman spy ‘Eggsy’ in Matthew Vaghn’s Kingsman franchise. He is known to take on roles that challenge him such as Robin Hood and Eddie the Eagle and will no doubt put his all into playing the legend that is Elton John. Taron is supported by Jaime Bell who was none other than everyone’s favourite dancing Northerner in the classic 2000 film Billy Elliot. Bell plays Bernie Taupin, a lyricist who co-wrote some of Elton’s greatest hits. This is Bell’s first film since the 2015 reboot of Fantastic Four. To finish this trio is another British icon, Richard Madden, known for being Robb Stark in HBO’s Game of Thrones and David Budd on BBC One’s The Bodyguard. Madden plays Elton’s manager in the film. Finally, Elton’s mother is played by Bryce Dallas Howard, best known as Claire from Jurassic World (2015) and Lacey from Black Mirror’s Nosedive episode (2016). This phenomenal cast is sure to bring Elton’s story justice.
2. The Director
Rocketman is directed by British director Dexter Fletcher. He has appeared in small acting roles in movies such as Stardust (2007) and Kickass (2010). Fletcher’s most notable directing credit is for his 2016 film Eddie the Eagle. While the film wasn’t exactly a box office champion, it is a heartwarming family classic that I find myself rewatching to raise my spirits on a tough day. In this film it is clear that Fletcher triumphs at directing directing Taron as Eddie and helps him navigate this character that is so rich in his personality and determination. Alongside his great utilization of characters, Fletcher also has a very distinct vibrant aesthetic to his film making that makes his visuals compelling to the eye. The way in which he integrated 80s pop hits into Eddie the Eagle gives me no doubt that be able to skillfully explore the lively 70s music scene in Rocketman whilst reincarnating Elton John’s Golden days.
3. The Costume Design
Elton John’s iconic looks are not only a pivotal part of his character, but also a narrative device that tell the story of his rise to fame. Tasked with the job of recreating these commendable outfits was costume designer Julian Day, previously BAFTA nominated for Bohemian Rhapsody’s costume design. These vibrant and excessive costumes are what will really exemplify his transformation from Reg Dwight into the Elton John we have come to know and love. Judging by the trailer, the multitude of elaborate dress pieces have been created with such detail, perhaps making it an early contender for a best costume design Academy Award.
4. The Music
In the upcoming film, Taron sings all of Elton’s hits himself. Taron actually sings Elton’s song ‘I’m Still Standing’ in the animated film Sing (2016). He then went on to meet Elton who made a cameo in the second instalments to the Kingsman franchise, Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017). Elton himself decided he wanted Taron to play him and has said: “I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone sing my songs better than Taron”. If the trailer is anything to go by, audiences can expect many stunning musical numbers to sing along to, featuring hits such as ‘Tiny Dancer’ and ‘Bennie and the Jets’ just to name a few. In the video above, Taron and Elton do a duet together, giving us a taste of what is to come in May.
5. The ‘R’ Rating
The film is rumored to be receiving an ‘R’ Rating due to its content about Elton’s sexuality and struggle with drug usage over the years. Elton said that if this movie was to be made he wanted no aspects of his life to be hidden. He told filmmakers not to hold back and as a result the audience is going to receive a retelling of events that have not been made discreet for the sake of a lower rating and more box office success. The filmmakers are taking a chance showing the the gritty reality of Elton’s life, that will hopefully pay off in a narrative that is dramatically rich and engages us as an audience.