Director Dexter Fletcher debunks rumors that Paramount reportedly wants to cut a provocative scene in the new biopic Rocketman. The alleged scene in question includes the exposed buttocks of the film’s star, Taron Egerton, and Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden.
Rocketman is a biographical musical fantasy drama that explores the life of English musician Elton John. Born Reginald Dwight, the now-iconic singer released his studio debut Empty Sky in 1969, and has since released 29 more albums. To date, John has more than 50 Top 40 hits and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. In addition to his music, John is known for his flamboyant personality and for coming out as bisexual in a 1976 interview with Rolling Stone. Fletcher's Rocketman chronicles both John’s musical career and personal struggles. Rocketman’s first trailer released last month, and now studio executives are supposedly concerned about maximizing the film’s commercial potential.
On Twitter, Fletcher posted a message that debunks the nude scene rumors. Per The Playlist, Paramount requested that Fletcher cut a 40-second scene from Rocketman involving Egerton as John and Richard Maddden as the singer’s manager, John Reid. The allegedly controversial sequence shows “rears exposed,” and the studio is reportedly concerned about ensuring a PG-13 rating. For the 2018 musical biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, the aforementioned Fletcher replaced the film’s original director, Bryan Singer, upon his firing. Based on the band Queen and its iconic frontman Freddie Mercury, Bohemian Rhapsody was produced for approximately $50-55 million and earned over $879 million at the box office. The film also won four Academy Awards. Based on Fletcher's tweet, Rocketman will be "the no holds barred, musical fantasy that Paramount and producers passionately support and believe in." Read the full post below.
Seeing much speculation about ROCKETMAN!! That’s good! It’s still unfinished so it’s nothing but rumors. It has and always will be the no holds barred, musical fantasy that Paramount and producers passionately support and believe in. See for yourself May 24. Dx x— Dexter Fletcher (@Dexfletch) March 22, 2019
Paramount supposedly wanted to cut Rocketman’s “sex scene” in order to mirror Bohemian Rhapsody's wide appeal. While critics weren’t necessarily kind to Bohemian Rhapsody, mainstream audiences had a different reaction, seemingly because the film is accessible and focused primarily on music rather than Mercury’s personal life. While Bohemian Rhapsody does address the subject's sexuality, it doesn’t show any graphic scenes that would warrant an R-rating. As a result, the Queen biopic has been correlated with “straight-washing,” and for being focused more on a contrived narrative rather than an honest account of Mercury’s life story.
Like Queen’s frontman, Rocketman’s focal subject is known for his charismatic stage presence. But whereas Freddie Mercury was more protective of his public image, Elton John has been relatively open about himself over the years. Given Fletcher's declaration of allegiance with Paramount on Twitter, it seems that he's in full creative control. We’ll find out what made the final cut when Rocketman releases on May 31.
- Rocketman (2019) release date: May 31, 2019