Elton John: impossible to 'tone down' film

Elton John's life hits the big screen in Rocketman.
Elton John's life hits the big screen in Rocketman.

Sir Elton John says he didn't want to hide the sex and drugs of his younger days in the film Rocketman or sanitise it for younger viewers.

The music star's life is depicted in the biopic with Taron Egerton as Sir Elton, who said seeing the film was like having a "very weird, disconcerting" dream.

The 72-year-old wrote in The Observer Magazine the biographical film was a long time in the making, and that "some studios wanted me to tone down the sex and drugs so the film would get a PG-13 rating".

"But I just haven't led a PG-13 rated life," Sir Elton said.

"I didn't want a film packed with drugs and sex, but, equally, everyone knows I had quite a lot of both during the '70s and '80s, so there didn't seem to be much point in making a movie that implied that, after every gig, I'd quietly gone back to my hotel room with only a glass of warm milk and the Gideon's Bible for company."

Sir Elton said some film studios had wanted to make a "more straightforward biopic", erasing the fantasy element, but that would have been "missing the point".

He said he "lived in my own head a lot as a kid".

"And when my career took off, it took off in such a way that it almost didn't seem real to me," he added.

Sir Elton also said that, before Egerton was chosen to play him in the film, Tom Hardy and Justin Timberlake were both in the frame.

The singer said of Kingsman star Egerton: "His singing really astounded me. He isn't doing an impersonation of me, he doesn't look uncannily like me - although they shaved his head and thinned out his hair to make it look like mine in the '70s, which he hated."

Australian Associated Press