Elton John Fought for Sex- and Drug-Fueled Scenes in “Rocketman”

John said he had "quite a lot of both" during the 1970s and 80s

Rocketman
Taron Egerton stars as Elton John in "Rocketman." (Paramount)
By Ariel Scotti / May 28, 2019 10:27 am

The tumultuous days of anyone’s past are often what shape them into the person they will become — a sentiment Elton John had to reiterate for producers of Rocketman, the film based on the rock legend’s life and career.

“Some studios wanted to tone down the sex and drugs so the film would get a PG-13 rating,”  John wrote for The Guardian. “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.”

The Grammy, Oscar and Tony award-winning musician also revealed that it took about 20 years for this movie to come to fruition because many producers didn’t understand his vision for the film.

“Some studios wanted us to lose the fantasy element and make a more straightforward biopic, but that was missing the point,” John wrote. “Like I said, I lived in my own head a lot as a kid. And when my career took off, it took off in such a way that it almost didn’t seem real to me. I wasn’t an overnight success by any means — I’d been slogging around the clubs, making records, writing songs with Bernie [Taupin] and trying to sell them to people who weren’t interested for four or five years before anything big happened. But when it happened, it went off like a missile: there’s a moment in Rocketman when I’m playing onstage in the Troubadour club in LA and everything in the room starts levitating, me included, and honestly, that’s what it felt like.”

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