Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher has revealed that he decided against a Freddie Mercury cameo. With the new Elton John musical biopic currently gaining widespread acclaim, some might argue that the time has never been better to tell the stories of rock n’ roll’s greatest artists.
At the same time, however, the close proximity of the release of last year’s Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody and this year’s Rocketman might also risk creating a sort of fatigue in audiences. Queen and Elton John were two of the biggest names in music throughout the 1970s and into the early 1980s, and although Mercury and John shared the same manager in John Reid (portrayed in Bohemian Rhapsody by Aidan Gillen), it appears that even Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody director Dexter Fletcher felt that aligning the two films too closely wasn’t the right move.
In a recent interview with Gaystar News, Fletcher revealed that he had considered getting Oscar winner Rami Malek to make a brief cameo in Rocketman. However, after some consideration, Fletcher realized that the idea would have been “a little too knowing” and that he wasn’t trying to build a cinematic universe. Said Fletcher:
There was an idea I had one point, where Elton’s in a restaurant with his mother. I thought John Reid and Freddie could be at another table and they wave at each other! That would have been amazing, [but] it didn’t come to pass. It would’ve been a little too knowing…I’m not looking to set out to make a cinematic universe!’
Fletcher’s connection to Bohemian Rhapsody is unknown to many people, as even the Internet Movie Database lists Bryan Singer as the film’s director. Singer was fired well into the production of Bohemian Rhapsody, reportedly for unprofessional behavior, and it was later alleged he participated in a substantial sexual abuse ring that dates back to the early 2000s. After finishing work on Bohemian Rhapsody, Fletcher moved on to Rocketman, and judging by recent reviews as well as box office results, audiences don’t seem to mind the close proximity between the two films. It does seem, though, that Fletcher’s desire to keep the two films separate extended not just to the inclusion of Malek but also the actor portraying Reid. The high profile talent manager is played by Richard Madden in Rocketman, ensuring that the structure of Fletcher’s anti-cinematic universe remained intact.
For many fans of Queen and Elton John, the idea of a Rami Malek cameo in Rocketman would've been perfect. That being said, Fletcher’s directorial sense was able to pick out the downside to such a move, and in the end, the film is arguably better for not going through with it. Releasing the two films in such close proximity was enough for many, considering that the formula for biopics typically follows a similar trajectory. It’s best to keep things as fresh as possible - especially since Rocketman surely isn’t the last big name musical biopic that we’re likely to see in the coming years.
Source: Gaystar News