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'Rocketman': Release date, plot, cast, trailer, news and everything else about this glittering rendition of Elton John's life

From a shy Dwight Reginald to a glittering Elton John, the movie sets out to explore the major points and themes of one of the world's most famous entertainers
UPDATED MAY 20, 2019

After Freddie Mercury, now it's time for Elton John's story to reach the audience. 'Rocketman' follows the pop star's formative years, which saw the Middlesex-born singer transform from a shy boy to a sparkling pop icon, and which the singer himself has called a "surreal" look at his life.

Paramount Pictures describes 'Rocketman' as an "an epic musical fantasy about the uncensored human story of Elton John's breakthrough years", and which takes a deep plunge into the singer's personal life as well. Reportedly, the movie will not censor the details of John's life, and will deal with his sexuality and struggles with addiction.

With the movie set to hit the screens in May, here's everything to know about the biopic.


Release Date:

The biographical musical, directed by Dexter Fletcher and written by Lee Hall, is set to release on May 24 in the UK and May 31 in the USA, and is titled after John's 1972 classic.


A lot like 2018's 'Bohemian Rhapsody', 'Rocketman' will focus on the transformation of Reginald Kenneth Dwight into Elton John, who went on to gain worldwide fame as a pop star and entertainer. The story follows Reginald, a shy boy who is gifted when it comes to music, and his ups and downs on his journey to becoming one of the biggest musicians in the world.

The movie will also focus on Reginald's struggle with his sexuality as a prodigy at the Royal Academy of Music, and all the significant moments of his life which contributed towards making him Elton John.

These moments have been marked out by songs that John wrote. The movie will subsequently look into John's struggle with alcoholism as he entered stardom.

The film will take a deep plunge into the personal life of Elton John. (IMDb)


After considering Justin Timberlake and Tom Hardy for the role, the makers zeroed in on Taron Egerton to play the role of the pop sensation.

Although John himself had initially wanted Timberlake to play the role since he had already represented the singer in the video for 2001's 'This Train Don't Stop There Anymore', Egerton became the final choice when he impressed the veteran with his ability to imitate the singer. 

According to the movie's producer and John' husband David Furnish, the singer was baffled by Egerton's take on his songs when he heard three tracks recorded at Abbey Road Studios.

The producer said, "Elton has told Taron, 'Don't copy me. Don't think you have to sing it exactly the way that I sang it. Don't think you have to perform it the way I performed it'. I think it's the challenge for the actor to embody the spirit and not get into thinking they have to do an impersonation."


Egerton, however, had already covered one of John's classics in the past, when he sang 'I'm Still Standing' for the 2016 animated movie 'Sing'.

He will be joined by Jaime Bell who will play John's lyricist, Bernie Taupin. Along with them, Richard Madden stars as John Reid, John's boyfriend and manager in the early '70s, and Bryce Dallas Howard stars as Sheila Dwight, John's mother.

Taron Egerton 

Taron Egerton attends the "Rocketman" Gala Party during the 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival on May 16, 2019 in Cannes, France. (Getty Images)

Taron Egerton plays the titular role of the Rocketman himself. 

He is known for his roles in the British television series ‘The Smoke’ and the 2014 action comedy film ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’. He has also played Edward Brittain in the 2014 drama film ‘Testament of Youth’, appeared in the 2015 crime thriller film ‘Legend’, starred as Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards in the 2016 biographical film ‘Eddie the Eagle’, voiced Johnny in the 2016 animated musical film ‘Sing’, and reprised his role in the 2017 Kingsman sequel, ‘The Golden Circle’.

Richard Madden 

Richard Madden attends the screening of "Rocketman" during the 72nd annual Cannes Film Festival on May 16, 2019 in Cannes, France. (Getty Images)

Richard Madden stars as John Reid, John's boyfriend and manager in the early '70s.

Madden is known for portraying Robb Stark in the HBO series "Game of Thrones" and Prince Kit in Disney's "Cinderella." Starring as David Budd in the BBC miniseries "Bodyguard" has also brought him more international acclaim and attention.   


Dexter Fletcher, who after spending almost 35 years as an actor finally directed 2011's 'Wild Bill', has taken up the responisibility to bring John's story on screen.

Fletcher is the one who replaced Bryan Singer as the director of the 2018 Rami Malek-starrer 'Bohemian Rhapsody', and gauging from his work in that movie, we are headed for one musical trip. Now, he has promised that 'Rocketman' will not leave out any aspect of John's life.  

The movie has been written and directed by Hall and Fletcher, respectively. (IMDb)

As for writer Lee Hall, we all remember the 2000 movie, 'Billy Elliot,' which starred Jaime Bell and was a unique story about a boy who loves to dance and has hopes of becoming a professional ballet dancer.

The movie was later turned into a stage musical, with music by John and lyrics by Hall, and saw Hall take the Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical.


Movie remains true to singer's life

Reportedly, 'Rocketman' will not straightwash John's life, and Egerton confirmed the news on March 25. At a preview of the film, the actor stated, "In one scene, looking rather worse for wear, John says, ‘I’m an alcoholic, sex addict and probably a shopaholic.’" He further mentioned that the film begins with John entering rehab, with movie unfolding as he tells of how he ended up so broken. 

Eagerton has stated that the movie will remain true to John's life and not straightwash it. (IMDb)

No more "straightwashing"

While Fletcher was criticized for straightwashing Mercury's life in 'Bohemian Rhapsody', the director has promised that nothing of that sort will happen with John's story. In a tweet he menitoned, "It has and always will be the no holds barred, musical fantasy that Paramount and producers passionately support and believe in."


Most of us are never satisfied being the person we are born as, and in the course of our lives we take every possible step in order to be the person we want to be. Reginald was not satisfied with the docile boy he was, he wanted more, and it is this very urge to break from one skin and convert to the other is the central theme of the trailer. 'Rocketman' takes a look at Reginald who goes from being an undesirable nerd to one of the most celebrated men on the planet, and it is all summed up in this trailer:

'Rocketman premieres at Cannes Film Festival'

“Even if the movie doesn’t make one penny — which will kill Jim Gianopulos — it is the movie I wanted to make, and that doesn’t happen often,” said  Elton John on Thursday as he proceeded to sing his signature “I’m Still Standing” at the Carlton Beach after-party for the world premiere of the movie all about himself, Rocketman. Paramount chose the 72nd Cannes Film Festival to launch its big summer hope, and if reaction with a seven-minute standing ovation was any indication, it is a hit. Gianopulos also noted that the studio was happy to go along with the movie Elton wanted to make, even if some scenes sent it into R-rated territory — and that included a tastefully shot sex sequence between Egerton and Richard Madden as his manager and onetime fling John Reid. Rocketman is the “first major studio film to depict gay male sex,” according to The Hollywood Reporter, which describes “multiple scenes that included men kissing, simulated oral sex and a steamy bedroom scene with both Egerton and Madden unclothed.”

'Rocketman' releases in the UK on May 24 and will soon release in theatres across the US on May 31.