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Taron Egerton’s singing in the Elton John Biopic ‘Rocketman’ is spectacular

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Saturday, 1 June 2019 00:00



  • Finding the right fit to wear the rock singer’s iconic wardrobe is one thing; finding an actor who sounds like him is another



Esquire.com: Whenever an actor steps into a music-heavy role, it’s always a toss-up as to whether the performer will take a risk and use their own voice or use backing vocals to be added in later. The latest performer in the musical crosshairs is Taron Egerton who plays Elton John in the biopic, ‘Rocketman’. 

The first glimpse of the film came about seven months ago when Egerton made his debut as John in a teaser trailer, but is the voice singing ‘Rocket Man’ in the back half of the clip actually Egerton?

Believe it or not, the answer is yes. Mostly. Unlike some movie musicals like the 2012 movie adaptation of Les Miserables, Egerton doesn’t perform every number live, but those are absolutely his vocals. The actor performs versions of Elton John’s greatest hits throughout the movie musical. 

The path to becoming the iconically-flamboyant singer has quite the backstory, too. Egerton told Jimmy Kimmel late last year that he and John met on the set of ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ while John was filming a cameo. The singer joked that if he were five years younger, it’d be John that Egerton was marrying. Cheeky.

But a cute anecdote isn’t enough to cast someone as the Tiny Dancer vocalist. Any number of actors could have stepped into the role of Elton John and skipped the singing portion. The real indicator that Egerton was a contender for the role was a film that came out around the same time as Kingsman. If you were paying attention to your 2016 animated trailers, you’ve likely heard Egerton’s singing voice without realising it.

Egerton starred in 2016’s ‘Sing,’ offering his voice for Johnny, a singing gorilla who enters an American Idol-style singing competition. Egerton sings two songs in the film, ‘The Way I Feel’ by The Zombies and ‘I’m Still Standing,’ a 1983 hit that remains one of John’s biggest songs. 

The second number not only serves as Egerton’s character’s finale song, but also a pretty solid audition number for the biopic he would star in three years later. When you see the movie, keep an eye out for it—it’s a stunner.

The question of Egerton’s singing ability has sparked some obvious comparisons to last year’s Best Picture nominee, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ as well as the man who stepped into Freddie Mercury’s light wash jeans, Rami Malek. 

At a press conference following the debut of ‘Rocketman’ as Cannes, press asked Egerton for his thoughts on his performance and Malek’s, who notably did not sing in the Queen biopic. Variety reported that while Egerton noted he was honoured to be mentioned in the same breath as the Academy Award winner, he added, “Our movie is a musical. It requires an actor who can sing in the lead role. For a biopic, that’s not necessary.”

No one could completely mimic John’s iconic voice, but in ‘Rocketman,’ Egerton gets pretty damn close. Thanks to the reworked songs in this film, Egerton has the opportunity to comfortably tackle John’s hits at his own pace. In his best moments he could easily be mistaken for the real guy, and in others, he sounds like the best person in your karaoke room.

John even posted a live performance of the two performing a heartfelt duet of the titular song at Cannes a few days ago.

Unlike ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ John played a role in the creation of ‘Rocketman’. The singer is credited as producer on the film, which means he had input on much of the end result.

He told IndieWire: “When I watch the movie, I don’t see an actor, I see myself, which is an extraordinary thing for an actor to do. He’s extraordinary.”

That’s quite an accomplishment in itself. So when you’re watching ‘Rocketman,’ remember that this time, the man behind the rose coloured, heart-shaped, diamond studded glasses is putting in the acting and the voice work. And with John’s blessing, it’s absolutely a performance worth watching.

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