“He felt it was a masterpiece,” reveals Dexter Fletcher when asked about Elton John‘s reaction to “Rocketman,” the musical extravaganza based on the pop icon’s life. “His reaction was really important to me. I wanted to make a film that I was proud of, but also something that he was proud of and got to the emotional truth of who he is and what he went through,” he says.
“I don’t think he used it in a flip way. He said it was a masterpiece and I think for him it is probably true, because it is such a hard thing to get right; the emotional integrity and honesty of it, and that was the aim,” the director explains. “When he said that, it was a hugely important moment for me.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Fletcher above.
SEE ‘Rocketman’ reviews: Critics like it a lot more than ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ but what about the Oscars?
“Rocketman” premiered earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival to a rapturous standing ovation and positive reviews from critics, who praised the film for its dazzling visuals, its honesty and the pitch-perfect performance of its leading man Taron Egerton.
Fletcher was keen to elevate the film as a musical spectacle that celebrates and explores the life of Elton John, and telling the story from a first-person perspective ended up being key to the film’s tone and style. “Our storyteller, Elton, is an unreliable storyteller. Sometimes he’s lying, sometimes he’s trying to pull the wool over our eyes, sometimes he’s oversharing and being completely frank and honest,” Fletcher says. “I knew that I never saw it as a biopic. I saw it as a musical that was about Elton John,” he explains, adding that “because we’re inside of the storyteller’s mind, because we’re inside the emotional experience, it means that I’m free to explore his psyche as it were, to explore how he felt in that time.”
SEE Sky-high platform shoes, gaudy glasses and sparkle a-plenty — an inside look at the lavish costumes for the Elton John biopic ‘Rocketman’ [WATCH VIDEO]
That freedom allowed Fletcher to punctuate the film with visually stunning musical spectacles based on some of the performer’s most well-known songs, rather than slavishly adhering to a timeline of the singer’s early life. “You could be at the depths when at the height of your fame. You could feel like you’re at the bottom of an extremely deep swimming pool just before you’re about to play Dodger Stadium and then go out on stage and have an incredible experience that you feel like you shoot off into space,” he explains. “I think this is one of the strengths hopefully of the film is that we use those visuals and that language to communicate how he felt at those times. It seemed like a more interesting way to tell the story.”
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