Movies

Taron Egerton fills big, fancy shoes

The Welsh actor stars in his biggest role as pop culture icon Elton John in biopic Rocketman

Playing Elton John in Rocketman is possibly the biggest role Taron Egerton has taken on since the English actor broke out in Kingsman: The Secret Service in 2014.

Opening here tomorrow, Rocketman is a musical fantasy about how a small-town boy named Reginald Dwight became one of the most iconic figures in pop culture.

Here Egerton, 29, talks about connecting with John and starring in the film.

On connecting with Elton John in preparing for the film

The first time I met him was a few years ago. He came on set for the second Kingsman film, which he was in. And I was very, very nervous. A few months later than that, when this conversation started, I went over to his house for curry. And we sat, just me and him, in his conservatory, and had a chat. He is a very, very sensitive person, and we talked about some things in life that, honestly, I have never discussed with anyone else before. And I felt a very strong connection with him.

On gaining insight into Elton John after working on the movie

At face value, Elton comes across as this very heightened, stylised, and occasionally quite clownish figure.

Elton has always been very open and candid about the way he dressed because he did not feel particularly comfortable with the way he looked, and perhaps looking at some of his contemporaries who, for whatever reason he certainly felt, had more of an appealing aesthetic. That is why he chose to wear these kinds of absurd, elevated things.

On him singing all of the songs in the movie

I have done bits of live singing before, for drama school and musicals. But this is a totally different beast.

There is probably a little bit more of me in this than people are used to hearing. I am actually really proud of that.

There is a limit to how much you want to mess with beloved classic songs, but we have taken some license with them.

On working with Jamie Bell and Richard Madden

Having Jamie and Richard as your backup and wing-men makes all the difference. Aside from the fact that they are brilliant actors, they have both been a great support throughout the process, and are the perfect energies for those parts as well.

On using the songs to tell Elton John's emotional journey

There is no chronology to the songs. The songs are placed in the story where they best fit to try and tell something of either the emotional life of the character or to move the plot forward.

This is a story about a joyous, tempestuous, genius man who has arrived at something of a juncture in his life where he can no longer continue with the lifestyle that he has been living, because he is an alcoholic and a drug addict.

On how wearing the costumes has been liberating

There are times where Elton has looked incredible, and has a great, albeit very elevated, sense of style, but there is a lot of times where he has looked fairly odd, as well.

And I have found the process of inhabiting him and his wardrobe, yeah, incredibly liberating. There is not a great deal that would make me blush now, to be honest.

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