It’s hard to argue Rocketman star Taron Egerton’s talent. In the film, he throws himself into the tender story of Elton John without fear, even when it means going into the depths of the biopics subjects depression. Early in the film, John lists all his vices while in rehab — from "weed and prescription drugs to anger management."
It’s a heartrending film. And, at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival in May, it got a four-minute standing ovation and made John, who was in the audience, cry.
Egerton graduated from England’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art — one of the oldest schools in the world, which gives students training in film, theater, and television — in 2012. Egerton went on to break out internationally in Kingsman: The Secret Service, with Colin Firth. In a funny twist, he actually used John’s “Your Song” as his audition piece for the prestigious academy.
Unlike Rami Malek’s Oscar-winning turn in Bohemian Rhapsody, Egerton took over the vocals on all of John’s iconic songs. He explained to the New York Post that John, who executive produced the movie (along with husband David Furnish), told him not to try and mimic his sound. “He wanted me to make the songs my own,” Egerton said. “He wanted me to be creative with them rather than just copying him.”
In a canny preview of Egerton’s talent, and presumably to garner interest for the film, the two took the stage together to perform John’s hit “Tiny Dancer” during the annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards viewing party last year.
And, when Egerton was asked if he would sing one of John’s songs at the event, he agreed to do so only if John accompanied him on the piano, reported Entertainment Weekly. He opened by saying, “It’s funny how life turns out, isn’t it?”
An interesting indicator that Egerton would be a perfect fit for the role was a film that came out around the same time as Kingsman. That’s right, Egerton had already performed an Elton John song on the big screen. He just happened to do so as a gorilla named Johnny in the 2016 animated feature Sing, singing “I’m Still Standing.”