The Paramount Elton John biopic and musical Rocketman is rapidly approaching its May release, but it looks like the filmmakers and distributors still have some major things to work through before that happens.
Executives have reportedly been in conflict with director Dexter Fletcher over the levels of explicit content depicted in the sex scene between lead actor Taron Egerton and Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden. The scene, which includes rear nudity, profanity, and drug use may have to be cut if the film is to get a PG-13 rating.
This has sparked a debate over how gay people and relationships are ‘straight-washed’ and toned down to be more acceptable for a larger audience. Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody is a recent example of this, as it has been criticized for bisexual erasure and not accurately depicting Freddie Mercury’s identity and experience with AIDS.
Rocketman‘s producers have insisted that this film will be grittier than Bohemian Rhapsody and explore his sexuality in a deeper way. Fletcher responded to the sudden uproar with this tweet-
Seeing much speculation about ROCKETMAN!! That’s good! It’s still unfinished so it’s nothing but rumors. It has and always will be the no holds barred, musical fantasy that Paramount and producers passionately support and believe in. See for yourself May 24. Dx x
— Dexter Fletcher (@Dexfletch) March 22, 2019
We’ll see if the creative vision of the film can be upheld through the editing process. The increase in LGBT related content in the mainstream is a more recent development and the industry is still figuring out the best ways to handle it, so some rockiness is to be expected.
See Rocketman in theaters on May 31 in the US and May 24 in the UK.