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Rocketman’s Director out Here with the Perfect Amount of Bohemian Rhapsody Shade


Taron Egerton plays Elton John in 'Rocketman'

You may know the name of Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher, because he’s also the man who came on to finish up Bohemian Rhapsody, an Academy Award-winning movie, but received no credit for his work. Now that his very own music biopic is in the spotlight, he’s got just the right words for the difference between his vision and the one he inherited on the previous project.

I’ve written about Bohemian Rhapsody as a fan of Queen and pointed out that if the movie wasn’t selling me the idea of being a story about Freddie Mercury, I probably would have enjoyed it. The problem is that it focused all its energy on making Freddie Mercury out to be this man we, as fans, had never seen, and then kind of just glossed over the aspects of his life that many look up to. And, at the time, the argument was that it was a movie about Queen, not Freddie, which … whatever.

Fletcher, who joined the film after Rami Malek asked him to help finish it, had no real attachments to it. He just wanted to honor the work that others put into Bohemian Rhapsody and get it to its release. He told IndieWire,

“I knew what it was. The film is its own film. I wanted to do a good job and bring it home. A lot of people were working hard and needed someone to get it over the line. I did my best work. I drove it and propelled it, but was not emotionally attached to it.”

What I love about Fletcher now is that, while not outright trash talking Rhapsody, he’s bringing to light the same issues that I had with the film. It was the “PG” telling of Freddie Mercury’s life and gave a story that wasn’t accurate (to me), and so to see him standing up for Rocketman and his vision of Elton John’s story gives me high hopes for this film:

“At the same time, it was clear from the outset that the film had to show the loves Elton had. Those loves are always going to be slightly challenging and extreme. We were not under any illusions. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was the PG version of that story. R-rated was always part of our aim, our vision [for ‘Rocketman’]. I was never unduly pressured by the producers or the studio. There’s quite a lot of R content. I had to say, ‘This is what’s important’ in the course of it, no more than the norm.”

Rocketman is maybe going to save my life tonight? (Get it? It’s an Elton John reference! I’m fun.) But we’ll have to wait and see. Just know that after this interview, I trust Dexter Fletcher and his vision for Elton John.

(via IndieWire, image: Paramount)

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Rachel (she/her) is an I, Tonya stan who used to have a poster of Frank Sinatra on her wall as a kid. She loves superheroes, weird musicals, wants Robert Downey Jr. to release a new album, and would sell her soul for Pedro Pascal as Kraven the Hunter. She is Leslie Knope and she's okay with that. Secretly Grogu's mom and Lizzie Olsen's best friend.