Taron Egerton: “I Always Felt More at Home in a Gay Club”

The "Rocketman" star explains why he's so at ease playing Elton John.

Rocketman star Taron Egerton opens up in a new British GQ cover story about why he’s such a good fit to play Elton John in the upcoming biopic.

“Because this film feels like me finally going to the world: here I am,” he tells the magazine, explaining that he felt like an “imposter” playing a spy in the Kingsman action movies.

“The ‘guy’, the ‘bro’, the ‘stunt guy’,” he continues. “I’ve never been that guy. I’m just not. I’m the guy who was playing Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors when he was 17.”

When the GQ writer points out that acting is supposed to be about being someone else, Egerton replies, “But I always felt more at home in a gay club than at a football match, far more at home.” He later adds, “I’m not someone who really subscribes to this binary view of male and female archetypes or ways of behaving.”

The 29-year-old actor squashed gay rumors last year after posting an Instagram photo of a male friend with a flirtatious caption. “I’m not gay,” he clarified in an interview, “but two of my mates came out when I was 15, and it was a joy to support them because, as a group, we are all secure in who we are.”

As a straight guy, Egerton acknowledges how much Rocketman and its unapologetic queerness will mean to the LGBTQ community, particularly after Bohemian Rhapsody, the Oscar-winning Freddie Mercury biopic, was slammed for straight-washing LGBTQ content. Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher famously replaced ousted director Bryan Singer on that project.

“I’ve approached it wholeheartedly and I hope that for that reason people accept me [as Elton],” Egerton tells British GQ. “The LGBTQ community has always been about inclusiveness, hasn’t it? Not about ‘We’re here. You’re there.’ In fact, if you want to come in, come on in.”

Described as “an epic musical fantasy about the incredible human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years,” Rocketman spotlights the relationship between the iconic singer and his first manager, John Reid (Richard Madden), who was also his lover.

“Well, the stuff we shot was pretty explicit,” he says of Rocketman’s sex scenes, adding that they aren’t gratuitous. “I mean, that’s why I made the film. Those scenes are desperately important when you have an icon of that magnitude, who means so much to one community. [John] has been such a standard bearer. And for me, especially as a heterosexual actor, not to push the envelope as far as I can or try to make it a wholehearted celebration of being a gay man would be wrong.”

Paramount Pictures

“It’s a studio movie. It’s Elton John. We’ve got to own that. I don’t care how well the film does in Russia. It doesn’t matter. It can’t matter. What’s an extra $25 million at the box office? What are you willing to do for that? Sacrifice sleeping at night because you watered the whole thing down?”

Asked if those gay sex scenes resembled any of his straight sex scenes, he quips, “They were both versatile.”

Fletcher recently shut down “rumors” of one gay sex scene, which reportedly features Egerton and Madden in “a nude cuddle,” being censored to obtain a PG-13 rating from the MPAA instead of R. He tweeted that the film “has and always will be the no holds barred, musical fantasy that Paramount and producers passionately support and believe in.”

Rocketman is now expected to be R-rated, according to The Hollywood Reporter, with the “intimate love scene” in question remaining intact.

“I filmed my first sex scene for this film and it’s with quite a well-known man,” Egerton told MTV in November. “I do feel the movie we shot is absolutely a celebration of everything that Elton John is and part of that is his sexuality.”

“I actually think the gay community will be quite surprised by quite how gay it feels,” he continued. “I loved every second if it.”

Egerton did all his own singing for Rocketman, which also stars Jamie Bell as John’s longtime writing partner, Bernie Taupin, and Bryce Dallas Howard as John’s mother.

Rocketman is in theaters May 31.
 

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