Dexter Fletcher is making a name for himself as the go-to guy for biopics about famous musicians. We’re only a couple of months away from Bohemian Rhapsody, a movie he saved after original director Bryan Singer failed to turn up to work. For some reason, Singer is still getting the credit for it, though, so maybe that doesn’t count.
Fortunately, though, he can lay claim to the upcoming Elton John biopic as his own. Rocketman stars Taron Egerton as the man of the hour, and the film looks like a more interesting movie than Bohemian Rhapsody anyway — and than most other biopics for that matter.
This won’t be a tame retelling of Elton John’s career, either. The film promises to chronicle the ups and downs of his illustrious career as he rose to fame and career during the 1970s. Producer Matthew Vaughn revealed that Sir Elton himself gave his blessing for the film to reveal his worst moments. “Elton just said, ‘Tell it all. Go as R-rated as you need to.’ And we do just that, with his blessing. The flaws and the genius are all there.”
But this isn’t a conventional biopic by any means. Rocketman incorporates fantasy sequences that promise to make for one wild ride. Check out the trailer below then join us as we discuss it further.
The trailer doesn’t give much away. Basically, it’s a collection of random scenes spliced together to parts of the songs “Benny and the Jets” and “Rocketman.” As someone who doesn’t really see the point in teaser trailers for the most part, for me this managed to dig deep into my soul and get me excited for the movie. It’s evident from this that Rocketman won’t be an ordinary biopic about a famous person.
There are a few things worth discussing in this footage, though, so let’s break the teaser down.
The trailer begins with our star man on top of the world, standing in front of a packed out stadium, the crowd cheering. We all know that Elton John is super famous, but we’re more fascinated with his journey to the top.
Here we get a glimpse of an unnamed woman as she looks up from a magazine with quizzical eyes. Judging by this gaze, she doesn’t look too happy about being disrupted, either. Her hairstyle is similar to Bryce Dallas Howard’s, who plays Elton’s mother in the movie. Until her face is shown, however, we’ll never know.
If I had to hazard a guess, the above scene is where a young Elton (then Reginald Dwight) tells his mom that he wants to be a superstar, She probably told him to be realistic, but the kid wasn’t taking no for an answer. As we can see here, he’s running forward, chasing a dream that will eventually come.
Here we see him in the recording studio as an adult during the early stages of his career. This scene will be one of the film’s knockout performances no doubt. This is the moment that sends him on the road to superstardom. Just look at Egerton’s confident posture sitting at that piano and singing away. You would swear he was the real thing if you didn’t know better.
If there’s one thing Sir Elton is known for, it’s his flamboyant fashion style. Writing and performing good music is just one part of his shtick. This is quite a simplistic look compared to other outfits he’s been known to wear, though there’s no denying that he’s still the most stylish man in the room here. Granted, he’s the only man in the room, but you know what I mean.
A group of women dancing in the streets can only mean one thing: This movie is going to be packed with feel-good musical numbers. Everyone here looks like they’re having a good time, and what’s a musical without some singing and dancing in random places?
Another concert performance, but the stage show looks bigger and better. Furthermore, the singer’s wardrobe is even more outlandish than it was in the earlier footage. This is the Elton John we all know and love spreading his wings.
In this scene, Elton is with his former manager and ex-boyfriend John Reid (Richard Madden). Sparks are flying, romance is blossoming. And while it’s too early to predict how good the performances will be, both actors appear to be playing off each other naturally here.
Jamie Bell is one of my favorite underrated actors, so I’m thrilled to see him make an appearance in the trailer as songwriter Bernie Taupin. He looks ready to party as well. The relationship between Taupin and Elton John dates all the way back to 1967, so expect Bell to have a substantial role in this one.
Most of us do our best contemplating while sitting on the toilet. No doubt this is where the singer came up with some of his best song ideas as well. He looks angry in this image, though. Or maybe he’s just focused? Something dramatic has happened or is about to happen. He could just be constipated. Either way, this moment marks a departure from the happy-go-lucky and uplifting footage until now.
Elton has given the filmmakers the go-ahead to portray his life as they see fit — the good and the bad. This party represents the latter. In 1975, the singer was struggling with drug and alcohol addiction and suffering from depression. As a result, he swallowed 60 Valium pills and jumped into a swimming pool. The above scene might not be about this specific event, but when it comes to stories about John and jumping into pools, this is the one that comes to mind.
The above scene sees the singer return to his comfort zone on the stage. He’s the main focus, as he should be, with the crowd merely shadowy images in the background to enhance the sense of intimacy. Expect this scene to feature another great song.
With all the glitz and glamor displayed in the previous scenes, something more down to earth was needed to remind us that Elton was a struggling artist like the rest of us once upon a time ago. There’s nothing fancy going on here, but seeing Taupin and John in a small British street shows that the film will showcase the rags before the riches story, too. Those parts are always the best in movies like this.
Something tells me that the filmmakers are keeping some of their cards close to the vest. But if I were a betting man, I’d put money on the woman in the above picture being revealed as Kiki Dee, the singer who collaborated with John on the massive 1976 hit, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” When we think of Elton John collaborations with female singers, she’s the first name that springs to mind. If Dee isn’t in this movie, all I know is the hearts of many will be broken.
Here we witness John staring at his guests enjoying themselves, in what looks like a scene that takes place prior to the one which sees him jump into the swimming pool. His back is facing the viewer and his presence is almost shadowy. This probably isn’t the most optimistic period of his life depicted in the film.
Now, this is how to dress. If the other outfits weren’t fly enough for your tastes, this one knocks it out of the park. However, this wacky outfit contrasted by the super serious look on his face. It’s like he’s spotted something amiss through his heart-shaped shades and can’t remove that scowl from his beautiful face. If only he turned to the left, as I’m sure he’d be happy to see that old lady bustin’ a move in the background.
They weren’t kidding around when they said this movie would be a warts and all retelling of Sir Elton’s story. This image is pretty disturbing, but as the old saying goes: the night is always darkest before the dawn. Thankfully, the closing moments end on a high (and not the drugs kind of high).
Finally, this is where the trailer soars and reaches its fantastical climax. When Egerton performs the title track, the film enters magical terrains. If any singer could levitate in real life it’d be Elton John, sure, but this scene is a prime example of why this particular biopic is unlike most other tributes to celebrities. A normal biopic would be doing Sir Elton a disservice, though. He has too much style for his big movie to be like anything else.