Elton John “Rocketman” biopic may fail gay audiences in its depiction of an icon

Rocketman dir. Dexter Fletcher 2019

Elton John biopic Rocketman is on the way but there may be a crucial scene missing when it arrives.

Elton John is one of the most beloved icons of popular music and Rocketman is the biopic which aims to do his story justice. Following the success of recent Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, Dexter Fletcher is back to portray another important figure which has shaped the landscape of music considerably. Both are regarded as incredible talents, but their history doesn't exactly share associations with the happiness that they have brought their fans. Fame and controversy are a timeless union. 

Taron Egerton - of Kingsman fame - will portray the renowned showman, exploring the singer's highs and lows throughout a monumental career. Although we generally regard him as a treasured songwriter, there is much more to John than now meets the eye, as he suffered torture and torment during his formative years as an entertaining and artist. Of course, he is widely known as a gay icon, of which this biopic should embrace. Unfortunately, this may not be the case. 

According to The Guardian, director Dexter Fletcher is under pressure to cut some footage which depicts an intimate moment between John and his manager, John Reid. This is due to ensuring the film will secure a PG-13 rating. However, if this is the approach that studios are insisting Fletcher take, then the very essence of what this film should detail has been ashamedly compromised. There was a similar argument with Bohemian Rhapsody, as its detractors argued that the film favoured a lighter rating - aiming for higher box-office - over honesty, sacrificing an accurate and insightful depiction.

Sadly, it's likely that Fletcher will succumb to the pressure and cut the scene from the film. It just feels totally unnecessary to do so, and frankly disrespectful. Biopics should not shy away from the true nature of the individuals that they strive to depict, as this completely defiles the film's potential contribution to shape how they are popularly understood. If the scene was included by Fletcher initially, it's there for a reason and should remain in the final cut; it's an intimate moment and potentially reveals a side to John the audience cannot see elsewhere.

If the studio is willing to interfere with this, then the project shouldn't have been made. No wonder Sacha Baron Cohen bailed on Bohemian Rhapsody

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