If the 2018 music biopic genre belonged to Rami Malek and the crazy popular Bohemian Rhapsody, then 2019 is without a doubt all about another legendary icon – Sir Elton John.
He’s the focus of the new film Rocketman, in which Taron Egerton, star of Kingsman and the underwhelming Robin Hood movie, embodies the beloved musician and brings him to life perfectly – from the star-spangled costumes down to his incredible singing voice.
Of course, another big selling point about the film – aside from Egerton’s stunning performance – is the R-rating, which allows Rocketman to be raunchier and a lot more mature than your average music biopic. It’s much more open about Elton’s sexuality and drug usage, too – one of the biggest detriments of Bohemian Rhapsody – which in turn adds another layer of faithfulness to the story. But it seems that some distributors aren’t quite alright with everything that’s shown in the movie.
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Central Partnership, the Russian distributor for Rocketman, has removed all of the scenes depicting drug use and homosexual content. This was done in an effort to “conform with the Russian Federation’s legislation against homosexual propaganda,” and understandably, it’s ruffled a few feathers.
John, in particular, has taken issue with it, blasting the distributor for what they did via a statement released by his team earlier today.
“We reject in the strongest possible terms the decision to pander to local laws and censor Rocketman for the Russian market, a move we were unaware of until today. Paramount Pictures have been brave and bold partners in allowing us to create a film which is a true representation of Elton’s extraordinary life, warts and all.
That the local distributor has edited out certain scenes, denying the audience the opportunity to see the film as it was intended is a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people. We believe in building bridges and open dialogue, and will continue to push for the breaking down of barriers until all people are heard equally across the world.”
Paramount, meanwhile, chimed in as well, saying:
“We are incredibly proud of the movie that we made, which is told in the way that Elton John wanted his story to be depicted. We are releasing the film in its entirety around the world regardless of rating, but like all studios, we must adhere to local laws and requirements in certain territories in which the film is being shown.”
All fair points, and while it’s a shame that some territories feel the need to censor the movie and not show it as it’s intended to be shown to audiences, like Paramount says, they need to adhere to the local laws.
Thankfully, though, here in North America and most major markets, Rocketman is being released into theaters in all its glory, and while reviews have been a little mixed thus far, the general consensus is that it’s a well made biopic with a strong central performance and some incredible musical numbers that’ll keep audiences entertained throughout.