Elton John's cameo in Kingsman: The Golden Circle may be the weirdest part of the super spy sequel, which considering it's also a movie where Colin Firth is brought back to life after a bullet to the eye says a lot. Let's look at how he came to be involved, what he was like on set, and whether it works.
It was known from early on that the singer would have some role in the film care of a teaser poster, but few could have expected the resulting cameo to be as substantial as it was. In the movie, Elton John is captured by Julianne Moore's Poppy, a drug kingpin striving to be a legitimate businesswoman, and held hostage in her 1950s hideout paradise. The main reason for this in-story is her opportunism - as Valentine, the villain of the first film, had kidnapped so many celebrities, the soft-spoken, meat-tenderizing psychopath decided it would be rude not to - and it appears that Elton is primarily used for her entertainment, dressed up in versions of his classic costumes and forced to play his classics.
Related: Kingsman: The Golden Circle Review
But there's more to it than that. This is a substantial cameo to the point John is basically a supporting play. And it's something that's several years (and two movies) in the making. The cast of Kingsman, director Matthew Vaughn and John himself have discussed how this came about and what it really means, so today let's take a deeper look.
Elton John Was Meant To Be In The First Kingsman
This isn't the first time that Elton John has been linked to Kingsman. During the pre-production of The Secret Service, a whole host of noteworthy celebrities, including David Beckham and Adele, were rumored to have cameos. This is likely due to the essential part A-listers play in the plot - they're kidnapped by the villain - and as such whether these names were actually approached or this was just speculation based on a quick glance at Mark Millar's graphic novel is unknown. Elton John got lumped in with this rampant speculation, with it reported by tabloids he was offered a part that involved an action scene.
We now know that, in terms of Rocket Man himself, this is totally true; he was offered a part and turned it down (likely due to the film's audacious approach and unproven quality), something he regretted when he saw the quality of the finished product. Speaking at the world premiere, Elton had this to say:
"I was supposed to be in the last one, but I turned it down and then I saw it and I thought "I wish I'd have been in it" So they asked me to be in this one - Matthew said to be in this one - and I jumped at the chance. I'm so thrilled to be in it."
Whatever the plan was, it sounds like the part was essential; when the offer was rejected, Colin Firth actually wrote to John begging him to be in the film, knowing just how much Matthew Vaughn wanted the singer.
What role he'd have played initially is unclear. It may have been related to Mark Hamill's cameo, which differs slightly from Millar's take (in the comic the real Hamill is killed at the start, whereas in the film the actor plays a scientist working for Valentine), although the graphic novel grounding does make that seem unlikely. It's possible that, given he was linked to an action scene, it was a similar setup to his eventual part in The Golden Circle - a captured celebrity who winds up helping the heroes in the finale.
Regardless, the upshot of all this is that when Elton was offered the part again, he said yes almost immediately.
- Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017) release date: Sep 22, 2017