Hulking presence Tom Hardy appears confirmed to play Elton John in the long-gestating biography film Rocketman, which will be distributed by Focus Features and directed by Michael Gracey. The film, from an original screenplay by Lee Hall (War Horse, Billy Elliot) covers nearly all of John’s life from being branded a musical prodigy at the age of five to the present day. It marks a huge departure of sorts for the British actor who made a name for himself as the heavy brute, most famously taking on the iconic role of Bane in Christopher Nolan’s final Caped Crusader movie The Dark Knight Rises.Peter Schlessel, the new CEO of Focus Features commented on the casting decision, stating, “We are confident that Tom will embody the physicality and spirit of Sir Elton. This, in conjunction with the creative team led by [Rocket Pictures], will provide the foundation for something that will be a unique cinematic event.” The film promises to be a brash, larger than life musical drama that explores one of the most colorful personalities the pop musical world has ever birthed. John will be one of the film’s credited producers and will re-record many of his iconic hits for the movie, which is set to start shooting next fall.
The prolific Hardy has a great many films headed the theaters beforehand, however, starting with Locke, a thriller that made a splash when it premiered at last month’s Venice Film Festival and was snapped up for U.S. distribution by A24 Films for a release likely next spring. Also on the way is the thriller Animal Rescue, from a script by Denis Lehane and co-starring the late James Gandolfini, as well as George Miller’s revamping of Mad Max: Fury Road opposite Charlize Theron and Mel Gibson, and the thriller Child 44.
Gracey, meanwhile, has been attached to another long-gestating project: The Greatest Showman on Earth, a Hugh Jackman biopic of P.T. Barnum, which at this rate will (if at all) start shooting after Rocketman.