Rocketman star reacts to claims he shouldn't play Elton as he's straight

25 April 2019, 11:46 | Updated: 25 April 2019, 12:13

By Tom Eames

Taron Egerton has responded to critics who have said he shouldn't play Sir Elton John in Rocketman, as he is not gay in real life.

Speaking to the gay magazine Attitude, Taron, who is straight, said that he “understands” why some people – including those in the LGBTQ+ community – would be upset that he took on the role of Sir Elton.

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He said: “It’s easy for me to sit here as a white, heterosexual man and say I should be able to play a part I want.

“But I completely understand why a gay actor would feel that this is an opportunity for which they would be better suited.”

Taron explained that he was chosen personally Elton himself, saying: “The way I feel about it is that Elton asked me to play him in a movie about his life. I am proud and privileged to be playing this person who happens to be gay.

Elton John and Taron Egerton
Elton John and Taron Egerton. Picture: Getty

“I want to live in a world where people are excited about playing people who are different from themselves. I believe that there is something inclusive and progressive about that.”

Rocketman will see Taron play Elton opposite Bodyguard's Richard Madden as the singer's former manager and love interest John Reid.

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“We shot a scene where we are both naked on a bed and we are rolling around. I don’t really know how much further we could have gone,” Taron added.

“In the script, this is the scene of Elton losing his virginity and we wanted to try to do that justice. We wanted to play it like two guys in their early 20s who are falling in love and who are incredibly sexually attracted to each other.”

Rami Malek faced similar problems when he was announced to be playing Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, while some also felt that the late iconic frontman’s sexuality had been overlooked in the film.