“Rocketman” To Keep R-Rating, Gay Sex

Rocketman To Keep R Rating Gay Sex

A report emerged in the British press the other day that the fantasy-influenced Elton John biopic “Rocketman” featured a 40-second gay sex scene between hunks Taron Egerton (“Kingsman”) and Richard Madden (“Game of Thrones”) that the film’s studio Paramount Pictures was pressuring the filmmakers to cut at least in part.

The reason seemed to be one of economics – the scene in question was said to be a key one that shifted the film from PG-13 to R-rated territory. The studio, having seen the Marvel-level box-office that the PG-13 “Bohemian Rhapsody” brought in despite the critical drubbing it received, wanted the same.

On the flip side those involved in the film from the cast and crew, producers Matthew Vaughn and David Furnish, and Elton John himself have been pushing the movie on the fact that it will NOT be like ‘Bohemian’ and will be unafraid to offer a grittier, ‘warts and all’ approach to the material rather than the other film’s sanitised and wildly revisionist take. Star Taron Egerton earlier this week praised John for allowing him to take the character to real places, even if they don’t show John in the best light such as his darkest moments in rehab.

Well now it seems that the original report has been shot down. First up, THR reports that the film’s director Dexter Fletcher is still in the editing phase of the film but those involved including the studio are expecting an R rating for “sex scenes and drug use”. In addition, Fletcher shot down the original report in a tweet saying:

“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 24th.”

The scene in question, featuring Egerton’s Elton John and Madden’s John Reid (Elton’s former music manager), reportedly features “the F-word several times and includes brief rear nudity, and someone snorting cocaine”. Hard pumping man buns, multiple F-bombs and drug use are all generally frowned on by censors.

The trade also reports that Paramount test screened the film last week in Pasadena and received scores in the high 80s, numbers that are said to be a promising sign for “an unfinished musical that grapples with some challenging themes, including John’s drug addiction”.

Bryce Dallas Howard, Jamie Bell, and Stephen Graham co-star in the film opening May 31st in the United States and around much of the rest of the world the week before.