Elton John biopic Rocketman may be censored for gay scene

Forty seconds of footage could be lost from the upcoming Elton John biopic Rocketman in a bid to lower its age rating, according to the Daily Mail.

The offending scene features stars Taron Egerton as John and Richard Madden as his lover and manager John Reid naked in bed together, but although their bare bottoms are on display, intercourse is not depicted.

The report claims the scene is felt by studio Paramount to be sufficiently racy to rule out a PG 13 rating in the US (equivalent to a British 12A). Director Dexter Fletcher is said to be under pressure to trim it from the final cut.

However, John was previously reported to have said that nothing should be off-limits in this authorised life story, telling the film-makers to “tell it all. Go as R-rated as you need to.”

John came out as gay in 1992, a year before he met his husband, David Furnish. He had previously been married to a woman, before declaring his bisexuality in the mid-1970s.

Fletcher took the reins on the Freddie Mercury film Bohemian Rhapsody after Bryan Singer was fired. That film met with accusations of straightwashing, and a cut for the Chinese market excised all male-on-male kissing and drug use. The film has made close to $1bn worldwide and won four Oscars, including one for leading actor Rami Malek.

Rocketman co-stars Jamie Bell as Bernie Taupin and Bryce Dallas Howard as John’s mother. First footage is about to be screened to the press, and there are rumours of an out-of-competition premiere at Cannes before the film’s UK release on 24 May.


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