Rocketman is ready for takeoff. The Elton John biopic, which opens May 31, is poised to become the musical hit of the summer. The fantastical jaunt through the “Tiny Dancer” singer’s life is carried by Taron Egerton’s performance as John. But is the 29-year-old actor really singing in the movie?
Egerton sings all the songs in the film
Rocketman has been compared to Bohemian Rhapsody, the Freddie Mercury biopic that won Rami Malek an Oscar. But unlike in that film, which featured Malek lip-syncing to hits like “Under Pressure” and “We Are the Champions,” Egerton both acts and sings in Rocketman.
Egerton tackles some of Sir Elton’s biggest hits in the film, including “Crocodile Rock,” Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” and “Bennie and the Jets.” His interpretations of the songs are also featured on the movie’s official soundtrack album. And Egerton has stressed that while he has the greatest respect for Malek’s performance as Mercury, he’s doing something a bit different.
“Our movie is a musical. It requires an actor who can sing in the lead role. For a biopic, that’s not necessary,” he said at a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival. “I’m very grateful that people compare us. Hopefully, it shows that there’s an appetite for movies [like this]. However, that movie is a unicorn.”
Elton John has praised Egerton’s musical chops
Playing a living legend like Elton John has got to be pretty intimidating, but Egerton’s performance got the seal approval from the man himself. In fact, John knew the actor was the right person to portray him after he heard him sing one of his songs in a different movie.
“I’d heard him sing ‘I’m Still Standing’ on the Sing soundtrack,” John said on Apple Music’s Beats 1. “I knew he could sing and I definitely wanted in this movie people to know that it wasn’t me singing. I didn’t want lip syncing. So he was given the brief of ‘you’re going to sing everything.’”
John has said that he’s blown away by Egerton’s performance.
“What he’s done is quite extraordinary because he sounds like me, but he also sounds like Taron,” he said. “And that’s down to Giles [Martin, the producer] giving him the confidence in the studio as well.”
John and Egerton even perform together on a new song, “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” which plays during the film’s closing credits. John and his long-time collaborator Bernie Taupin (played by Jamie Bell in the film) wrote it specifically for the movie.
Elton John had some advice for the actor
When Egerton signed on to play John, the singer had some advice for the young actor: Make it more than mimicry. John’s husband, producer David Furnish, shared John’s guidance with the Hollywood Reporter:
“Elton has told Taron, ‘Don’t copy me. Don’t think you have to sing it exactly the way that I sang it. Don’t think you have to perform it the way I performed it. I think it’s the challenge for the actor to embody the spirit and not get into thinking they have to do an impersonation.”
Rocketman is in theaters May 31