Elton John on Keeping the Sex and Drugs in 'Rocketman'

"I just haven’t led a PG-13 rated life"

May 28, 2019
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The fantasy-fueled life story of Elton John hits theaters on Friday May 31st, and it will feature some of the very real vices of the "Tiny Dancer" singer.

In a new essay for The Observer, John explains that the film Rocketman shows the exploits of the star despite some trying to sanitize his story. "Some studios wanted 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" Elton writes. "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."

In the piece, John talks about watching that chapter in his life unfold on the screen. "It’s strange, I don’t find it painful to watch those parts of the film. They’re truthful and, unlike my childhood, it was my own fault" explains Elton. "No one forced me to do drugs and drink. In fact, more than a few people tried to warn me I was out of control. It took a fairly Herculean effort to get yourself noticed for taking too much cocaine in the music industry of 1970s LA, but I was clearly prepared to put the hours in."

Rocketman has been years in the making for Elton John, going through multiple directors and several people set to portray him in the film before finally settling on Taron Egerton. John writes that both Justin Timberlake and Tom Hardy were considered for the role before Egerton eventually won out.

"I gave my diaries to Taron to read when he took on the lead role in the film. He came to my house, we had a takeaway curry and chatted, and I let him see them. I knew Taron was the right man when I heard him sing 'Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.' I thought it was really important that whoever played me didn’t lip-sync, I wanted them to actually sing the songs, and Taron had already sung 'I’m Still Standing' brilliantly in the animated film Sing."

You can read more from Elton John about the making of the movie here. Rocketman is in theaters on May 31st.