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'Rocketman' Star Taron Egerton Talks Elton John, Sex Scenes, and Backlash

'Rocketman' Star Taron Egerton Talks Elton John, Sex Scenes, and Backlash
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“Extra’s” Terri Seymour was in London with Taron Egerton to talk about his role as iconic rocker Elton John in the highly anticipated movie “Rocketman.”

Taron was fresh off the film’s big debut at Cannes, where he received the seal of approval from Elton himself and generated Oscar buzz. He and the film received a standing ovation at its screening.

“It was very emotional,” said Egerton, who did all his own singing in the film. “Elton was profoundly moved. I was actually a bit worried about him at one point, and that’s why I got a little bit overwhelmed.”

Elton has said he felt like he was watching himself while viewing Taron's performance. “All you can do as an actor," Taron said, "is imagine what it would be like to be that person. So there's a risk you might not get it right. So to hear the subject you are portraying feels you have is huge validation, particularly when the subject you are portraying is someone you really care about is all the more brilliant. I think that's why I got a bit 'totes emosh.’”

Elton was an executive producer on the movie, but nothing was off-limits, from his battles with addiction to losing his virginity to his lover-turned-manager, played by Richard Madden.

Taron said of filming sex scenes, “It's a very artificial and frankly quite uncomfortable thing. To navigate it with someone that you have a real understanding of and can talk to and be very open about it was helpful. It’s not in there because of scandal or sensation. It's there because it's an important storytelling moment, and we're very proud of it.”

He said love scenes are hard with a man or a woman. “I’d go as far as to say, for me, as a heterosexual actor, it's easier to do with a man I get along with than a woman I don't.”

Egerton also talked about the backlash he received being cast as an openly gay man when there are so many out actors who could have played the part. “We're talking about a community that has felt underrepresented in the past and even now. To seek to preserve opportunities for an actor… who's a member of that community, I understand that viewpoint. Obviously, I don't agree because I took the role. I think there is something inclusive and progressive about people playing roles that aren't very like them. Acting is about empathy and it's about exercising your understanding of people who are from different places than you and have different feelings than you.”

“Rocketman” opens in theaters May 31.

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