Taron Egerton Compares Rocketman with Bohemian Rhapsody: 'It Required an Actor Who Can Sing'
Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody may have their similarities, but they’re very different movies.
While attending a press conference on Friday at the Cannes Film Festival, the day after Rocketman premiered to a standing ovation, star Taron Egerton addressed the inevitable comparisons many will make between the film and the Queen biopic, which was released in November — and went on to rake in close to $1 billion at the worldwide box office.
Although both movies center around the life and times of larger than life rock stars, Egerton has said Rocketman is a “different animal.”
“I’m proud that we’re mentioned in the same breath,” Egerton, who portrays singer Elton John in the upcoming film, remarked, according to Variety. “That film has been such a phenomenon, and rightly so.”
“I can’t remember who did that, who finished it off,” the 29-year-old actor quipped, making a sly reference to Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher, who was brought in to finish directing the Queen biopic after the original director Bryan Singer was fired.
Commenting on one of the major differences, Egerton pointed out that he sings John’s songs in the movie.
“Our movie is a musical. It requires an actor who can sing in the lead role. For a biopic, that’s not necessary,” he continued. “I’m very grateful that people compare us. Hopefully, it shows that there’s an appetite for movies [like this]. However, that movie is a unicorn.”
As Bohemian Rhapsody‘s Rami Malek told Metro, the Freddie Mercury we hear in the film is “an amalgamation of a few voices.” The singer’s vocals are those of Malek mixed together with Marc Matel, famous for impersonating Mercury on YouTube.
Fletcher has also spoken out about his experiences with both films, revealing that he never felt any kind of emotional attachment to the Queen biopic.
“I wanted to do a good job and bring it home. A lot of people were working hard and needed someone to get it over the line,” he recently told IndieWire of taking the reins. “I did my best work. I drove it and propelled it, but was not emotionally attached to it.”
Fletcher was an easy choice for producers, as he was previously hired to direct Bohemian Rhapsody once before, though he quit in 2014, citing creative differences with producer Graham King, according to Deadline.
“[The producers] sort of said, ‘Look, this is a film that needs to be finished,’ and they trusted me with that responsibility,” he told Indiewire. “It was really about watching what had been already created and being part of that. It wasn’t like changing and reinventing the wheel.”
Fletcher did not receive official credit from the Directors Guild of America for his work, but Bohemian Rhapsody was a success despite the turmoil, earning a Best Picture nod at the Oscars and winning four trophies, including Best Actor for Malek.
Following Thursday’s premiere, both John and Egerton surprised fans with a special performance.
The singer, 72, began to play the piano by the beach where he sang his 1983 song “I’m Still Standing.” He was soon joined by Egerton, and the duo sang the titular song “Rocket Man,” which John released in 1972.
Of Egerton, John commended the actor for his performance, saying, “I don’t see an actor, I see myself.”
“This has been a very emotional night for me … Even if the movie doesn’t make one penny at the box office which will kill Jim Gianopulos [CEO of Paramount], it is the movie I wanted to make,” John added.
Rocketman hits theaters May 31.