Top 10 Behind-the-Scenes Facts About Rocketman (2023)

Top 10 Behind The Scenes Facts About Rocketman

“Rocketman” isn’t just another life story; it’s one hell of a rockin’ musical! Welcome to MsMojo, and today, we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Behind-the-Scenes Facts About “Rocketman.”

For this list, we’re shedding some light on the production of this 2019 film based on the life of Elton John. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, this may help set your expectations before heading to the theater.

#10: It Is NOT a Biopic

This is a message, albeit a bizarre one, that the cast and crew have continuously mentioned in interviews. “Rocketman” is NOT a biopic; it is a “musical fantasy”. Then, what does John’s life have to do with it? According to Taron Egerton, who plays the famed musician, the songs and musical numbers are being used to represent important moments in John’s life. Given how most conventional biopics dance in and out of historical accuracy, keep this in mind when you’re walking into the theater. It may help you see how the songs correlate with John’s past experiences.

(Video) Top 10 Behind-the-Scenes Facts About Rocketman

#9: The Film Uses ‘Artistic License’

As we said before, many biopic - or biopic-styled - films bend the truth to make themselves more interesting. They call this “artistic license”, and “Rocketman” certainly uses it. Fans initially raised concerns when a trailer seemingly showed John at a concert that never actually happened. The concert in question seems to be John’s American debut at the Troubadour. While his first U.S. show DID happen at this venue, the musician did NOT perform “Crocodile Rock,” contrary to what’s shown in the trailer and the film. But since Elton John gave Dexter Fletcher permission to use artistic license, the director was able to do what he thought was necessary to capture the “magical fantasy that tells the story of his [John’s] life.”

#8: The Sexuality Controversy

In April 2019, Taron Egerton’s casting came under fire. Because the actor is heterosexual, some fans and critics began to state that they weren’t comfortable with a straight man playing a gay musician, despite John being fully supportive throughout production. Shortly after the backlash arose, Egerton responded that his sexuality shouldn’t dictate what roles he can and can’t play: “I did not get into acting to just play people like me.” He also elaborated: “You have to draw the line somewhere, and I don’t want to live in a world where straight people play straight people and gay people play gay people.” Elton John himself also put in his own two cents, calling the criticism “bulls**t”.

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(Video) Top 10 Things Rocketman Got Factually Right and Wrong

#7: Director Dexter Fletcher Was Also Behind “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Dexter Fletcher has been making quite a name for himself in the late 2010s. While he only began directing “Bohemian Rhapsody” late into its production following Bryan Singer’s removal, you can’t deny he had a huge hand in making it a blockbuster success. This is part of the reason that “Rocketman”’s release is so exciting; the man knows how to translate a musician’s work onto the big screen! When it comes to other notable names involved with the movie, it’s worth mentioning that Jamie Bell and Richard Madden have supporting roles as Bernie Taupin and John Reid respectively. Bryce Dallas Howard also plays Elton’s mother! Needless to say, it’s a top-notch cast!

#6: Taron Egerton Has Several Connections to Elton John

Call it a pure coincidence, but Egerton has had several ties to Elton John throughout his filmography. In 2017, Egerton starred in “Kingsman: The Golden Circle”, in which John made a cameo. For the 2016 animated film “Sing”, Egerton voiced a gorilla named Johnny, who sings a cover of John’s “I’m Still Standing”. Oh, and we can’t forget about Egerton’s audition for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he performed a tune called “Your Song” by - you guessed it - Mr. John himself. Considering his musical experience and his previous movie appearance with the legend, Egerton had a huge advantage in nabbing this role. We suppose you could even say Egerton was destined to play Elton John.

(Video) Top 10 Things Rocketman Got Factually Right and Wrong

#5: Elton’s Advice to Taron

Despite “Rocketman” being kickstarted by Elton John, the famed singer had very little involvement with the project once it took off. Fletcher and the crew did consult John for a few things, but they did so out of courteousness. John was fully supportive throughout “Rocketman”'s production, especially around a nervous Taron Egerton. The actor felt a heavy amount of pressure when he took on the role, but fortunately received some words of advice. John encouraged Egerton to portray himself the way Egerton saw him, reportedly saying, “Don't think you have to sing it exactly the way that I sang it… I think it's a challenge for the actor to embody the spirit and not get into thinking they have to do an impersonation.” Wise words, John, wise words.

#4: How They Got Taron to Look Like Elton

To say “a lot of work went into Taron looking like Elton” would be an understatement. Countless hours went into not just makeup and costumes, but also recordings at the famous Abbey Road Studios as well as complex dance routines for choreography. When speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Egerton estimated he spent “somewhere between 50 and 100 hours of fittings”! For every day of shooting, Egerton had to have half of his hair kept shaved in addition to painting his teeth to replicate John’s tooth gap. From the looks of it, all that effort paid off; in the same article, John said he thought he was looking at himself!

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(Video) ROCKETMAN (2019) | Behind the Scenes of Taron Egerton's Elton John Biopic Movie

#3: Elton Won’t Be Singing

It’d be easy for Fletcher and the crew to just insert John’s vocals or previous recordings into the movie and call it a day. However, they went above and beyond with “Rocketman”! Rather than taking the easy way out, it was decided that Egerton would provide his own vocals for the soundtrack. Singing the songs of a musical legend gave Egerton some intense stage fright, especially when John was on set - fortunately, that didn’t happen too often. But we’re sure that getting his singing prowess commended by Elton John himself must have been quite the confidence boost, as was recording a duet with him called “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again.”

#2: It Bounced Between Studios

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to make a movie about Elton John? Well… several studios wouldn’t, actually. “Rocketman” was originally going to be distributed by Universal, but was the studio stalled the project for many years. Producer Matthew Vaughn said Universal chairman Donna Langley said to him, “You definitely want to make it an R-rated film, and you’re going to make it for over $35 million?” When Vaughn said yes, she replied, “Good luck.” “Rocketman” ultimately found a home with Paramount Pictures, but reports claim the studio pressured Fletcher to make it less sexual, most likely due to the fact that gay scenes are banned in China.

(Video) Taron Egerton: FACT-CHECKED Series of the 12 Things You Might Not Know About This Rocketman Star

#1: Tom Hardy Was Cast Originally

Surprised? Yeah, so were we! Back in 2013, Tom Hardy had signed on to play as Elton John, but it wasn’t long before Hardy was dropped from the project for various reasons. For starters, Hardy was much older than John was in his early years. This could have been slightly overlooked had it not been for Hardy’s singing lyrics - or rather, lack thereof. The original plan for “Rocketman”’s music was to have John’s vocals dubbed over Hardy while the actor lip-synced, which would make things more complicated and likely more expensive. Even before Hardy was signed on, John expressed interest in casting singer and actor Justin Timberlake. However, we’d say they got the best man for the job - the multi-talented Taron Egerton, of course!

FAQs

Are there inappropriate scenes in Rocketman? ›

Expect many scenes of flirtation, romance, and affection between men, as well as a frank sex scene that begins with men kissing passionately before falling into bed to pull of their clothes; they're briefly shown nude and moving rhythmically together.

Did Taron Egerton do all the singing in Rocketman? ›

Of course he does! Taron Egerton previously showed off his singing chops in the animated children's film Sing, in which he plays Johnny the gorilla and sing's Elton John's I'm Still Standing.

How much of Rocketman is true? ›

Yes. The Rocketman true story confirms that Elton, born Reginald Kenneth Dwight, developed an early interest in piano and reportedly taught himself how to play. He performed "The Skater's Waltz" at the age of 3 after learning it by ear. It became clear that he was blessed with an incredible gift.

Is Rocketman ok for 13 year old? ›

In addition to the violent scenes and disturbing visual images mentioned above, Rocketman has some scenes that could scare or disturb children aged 8-13 years.

How did they film underwater scene in Rocketman? ›

At the bottom of the pool, a reclining John begins singing "Rocketman." The dreamy fantasy sequence required director Dexter Fletcher to set up cameras 65 feet underwater and for Egerton to remain with a dive team for several takes lasting up to 20 minutes.

What was true and false in Rocketman? ›

In real life and the movie, Liberty Records executive Ray Williams introduced John to his longtime lyricist Bernie Taupin. But the movie shows Williams passing along Taupin's lyrics to “Border Song” before the two even met. That song wouldn't be created for another two years.

Was Rocketman lip synced? ›

Yes, that is actually Egerton's singing voice in Rocketman. Before filming started, Egerton told Collider that he planned on doing the singing himself.

Who was the drag queen in Rocketman? ›

Chantize Darius Jeremy Pierce, better known as Shangela Laquifa Wadley or mononymously as Shangela (born November 22, 1980), is an American drag queen, reality television personality and actor best known for competing on RuPaul's Drag Race.

Who was supposed to play Elton John in Rocketman? ›

Justin Timberlake and Tom Hardy were both at one point considered to play Elton John in Rocketman. Before there was Taron Egerton, there was almost Justin Timberlake. Elton John opened up about the process of getting his life story made into an onscreen musical in a personal letter published by The Guardian on Sunday.

Who saved Elton John's life? ›

"I knew that my lifestyle was crazy and out of order. And six months later, I got sober and clean and have been ever since," John said.

Where did they shoot Rocketman? ›

Ambleside, 51 Kentish Lane, Brookmans Park, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England, UK (Elton John's mansion in L.A.)

Are all the events in Rocketman true? ›

Neither did he turn into an actual "rocket man" during his Dodgers Stadium shows in October 1975. But that's how events are depicted in Rocketman, the film about Elton John, because this is not a biography—it's a musical intended to capture the emotion of John's life, as the movie's director, Dexter Fletcher, tells me.

Who is the villain in Rocketman? ›

John Reid is the main antagonist of the 2019 biographical musical drama film Rocketman. He is Elton John's second manager and first lover.

Is Rocketman a drug song? ›

Is Rocket Man a drugs reference? A lot of people thought that the line in the song that says “I'm gonna be high as a kite by then” meant that the track was riddled with evil drug references, but the actual meaning of the song was more literal, coming only three years after man first walked on the moon in July 1969.

Is it 2017 ok for a 13 year old? ›

I recommend this film to everyone who loves slightly disturbing films and TV shows like me but for anyone under the age of 13 you really should not watch it. It's very gory and contains adult language.

How many pairs of glasses were used in Rocketman? ›

Taron Egerton wears 53 different pairs of glasses throughout the film.

How well did Rocketman do at the box office? ›

With a Wednesday gross of $1.17 million (-26% from last Wednesday), Dexter Fletcher's Rocketman has crossed the $70 million mark at the domestic box office. At this current rate of play, it should end its domestic run with around $85 million-to-$90 million.

Why is Elton called Rocketman? ›

It was inspired by a story by Ray Bradbury, from his book of science fiction short stories called The Illustrated Man. In that book there's a story called 'The Rocket Man,' which was about how astronauts in the future would become sort of an everyday job. So I kind of took that idea and ran with it.

Did Elton John approve Rocketman? ›

John himself hasn't given many interviews about the movie at this point, but his husband, producer David Furnish, told The Hollywood Reporter that John definitely approves of the film and its casting.

Is Elton John still friends with Bernie? ›

They've worked together for a 50 years, and Bernie Taupin now sees his songwriting partner. The 69-year-old told The Daily Telegraph on Saturday: 'When we get together, it's like any other couple who are friends and have a history; you fall into conversation very easily'.

What did Elton John's father do? ›

Did Elton John and Kiki Dee like each other? ›

Elton John and Kiki Dee never had a romantic connection. The pair adored each other but were never more than close friends. Her last relationship was with Davey Johnstone, one of Elton's guitar players.

Did Elton ever reconcile with his father? ›

Sadly, the pair were never able to fully mend their relationship before Stanley's death in 1991. John, not wanting to appear a "hypocrite," didn't attend the funeral. "In the end, he was proud of me," he admitted to PEOPLE in 2008. But he still bears the scars of their troubled bond.

How did Taron Egerton get the role in Rocketman? ›

John was having trouble getting ROCKETMAN off the ground, and after he played a small role in KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE, that film's producer/director, Matthew Vaughn, offered to help make John's movie. He also suggested Egerton for the lead.

Is Elton John friends with the Queen? ›

Popular on Variety. Shortly after the death of Queen Elizabeth II was announced on Thursday, Elton John, who has had a close relationship with the Royal Family for the past several decades, posted a heartfelt remembrance on his social media accounts.

What is a drag mother? ›

A drag queen may either pick a drag name, or be given it by a friend or a"drag mother". Drag mothers often come to lead their drag house, or start their own, and are more experienced and acclaimed members of the drag community. As such, drag mothers and drag daughters have a mentor-apprentice relationship.

Are RuPaul and Elton John friends? ›

Elton John and RuPaul have a long-standing friendship, and they have partnered many times in the past on different projects. Among them, RuPaul was featured on a remix version of Elton John's "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" in 1994.

What did Elton John think about Rocketman? ›

Elton also told The Daily Telegraph how he found it difficult to watch Rocketman. The 72-year-old said: “This is how my life was, and I didn't want to cover it and gloss it over. “And it's difficult to watch because I thought, 'God, I don't want to go back there. Thank God I came out of it'.”

What does Elton John think of Taron? ›

John couldn't be happier with the result. “When I saw Taron, I was not looking at him — I was looking at me. And when I was hearing the voice, I was hearing me, but it wasn't me,” he said. “Everything about it was extraordinary.”

How long did it take to film Rocketman? ›

Principal photography began in August 2018 and was completed later that year. John served as executive producer, while his husband David Furnish produced the film through their Rocket Pictures, alongside Matthew Vaughn's Marv Films.

Did Elton John attend Diana's funeral? ›

Although they reportedly had a falling out a year before her death, Sir Elton still performed at her funeral, where he played Candle in the Wind. Many have been marking the 25th anniversary of Diana's passing, and at her childhood home of Althorp House, the Union Jack was flown at half-mast.

What song did Elton John sing at Ryan White's funeral? ›

At White's April 11 funeral at Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N. Meridian St., John led the congregation in singing "The Lord is My Shepherd." He also performed his 1969 tune "Skyline Pigeon" and served as one of White's pallbearers.

What is Rocketman 1997 rated for? ›

Rocket Man [1997] [PG] - 1.1.

Is Rocketman about being high? ›

Is Rocket Man a drugs reference? A lot of people thought that the line in the song that says “I'm gonna be high as a kite by then” meant that the track was riddled with evil drug references, but the actual meaning of the song was more literal, coming only three years after man first walked on the moon in July 1969.

Who did Elton John hook up with Rocketman? ›

Rocketman also stars Richard Madden as John Reid, a music manager and the man who became Elton John's first lover. The pair were romantically linked for 5 years, though it was kept hidden at the time.

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