The filmmakers who are handling the Elton John biopic Rocketman, slated for release on May 31st of this year, are allegedly clashing with the studio bosses over a naked sex scene involving the picture's star Taron Egerton and Game of Thrones leading man Richard Madden.
Paramount executives sent word down from the mountain that Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher and producer Matthew Vaughn cut a 40-second scene in the movie that shows the actor Taron Egerton, who plays Elton and his one time lover and manager John Reid, played by Madden writhing around in bed. The scene is tastefully done, but apparently their sun starved buttocks are on display during the same sex romp, something Paramount Pictures wants nothing to do with.
"Two guys have a naked cuddle to express their love for each other and that will be reduced to a fully dressed warm hello. The world knows Elton's gay. It's no secret." said a source, who worked on the film.
The move itself, in cutting the scene, may not be attached to any social idea pushed by picturing the pair in bed together. It may be instead an attempt by the executives to guarantee the film a PG-13 rating. Paramount has been eyeing the billion dollar box office pulled in by 20th Century Fox's Bohemian Rhapsody, trying to emulate the success with their own version of a high profile successful singer being featured in a full length theater release. With a cheeky scene like the one shot now, the film could end up with an R-rating which is why the scene will probably end up on the cutting room floor. With an R rating the film has zero chance of crossing the magical billion dollar threshold.
The argument over the footage is playing out amidst a background of current screenings for reporters. The screening piece is just 40 minutes long, including the uncut proposed sex scene. Elton John himself has said to make the film as real as possible no matter what the rating. He told the writers from the beginning, "Tell it all. Go as R-rated as you need to."
It is however unlikely that the scene will survive the bottom line. We are talking about a billion dollar movie here, and Paramount Pictures will do nothing to jeopardize the film from pulling in as much money as possible for them.
Earlier this week on Monday night, 20 minutes of Rocketman was rolled out for an audience at the world famous Troubador night club here in Los Angeles. The club has made many a musician a star. Elton made his U.S. debut there all the way back in the summer of 1970, so the club made the perfect spot for the footage to be debuted.
Showing up to glow at their recent effort were Taron Egerton, Reg-Dwight turned Elton John, Bryce Dallas Howard who plays Elton's mother Sheila, Jamie Bell who plays Bernie Taupin, Elton's long time lyricist, and film producer David Furnish who is Elton John's real life husband. Director Dexter Fletcher was absent from the event because he is currently in post production with the film racing towards the May 24th UK release date. The film will be released in U.S. theaters starting May 31st. This news comes from UK Daily Mail.