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‘Rocketman’ Director Responds to Rumors That a Gay Sex Scene Will Be Cut From the Film Editors' Picks

‘Rocketman’ Director Responds to Rumors That a Gay Sex Scene Will Be Cut From the Film

Written by Stephan Horbelt on March 25, 2019
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An update to this story about the Rocketman gay sex scene appears below.

As we noted after catching a 15-minute preview of Rocketman at an exclusive party in Los Angeles earlier this week, upon release the Elton John biopic is sure to be uttered in the same breath as Bohemian Rhapsody quite a lot. In addition to telling the story of a world-famous queer musical icon, both films were also directed by Dexter Fletcher (for Rhapsody he was hired after the firing of Bryan Singer), both films take creative license with history and — if we’re to believe a recent story out of the Daily Mail — like Rhapsody, Rocketman could face accusations of “straightwashing.” Rumor has it that a Rocketman gay sex scene is in serious danger of being cut from the film.

First and foremost, it should be said that the Daily Mail does not have the best track record when it comes to journalistic integrity, so the story it’s reporting — which allegedly comes from a source that worked on the film — may not be 100% accurate, and would most assuredly be denied by the top brass at Paramount.

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But the UK outlet is reporting that a Rocketman gay sex scene — though perhaps better described as Taron Egerton’s Elton John “writhing on a bed” with Richard Madden’s John Reid (John’s one-time lover and manager) — is in danger of being cut by Paramount. The outlet has gone so far as to say that Paramount is “forcing” Dexter Fletcher to cut the scene to ensure a PG-13 rating.

“Two guys have a naked cuddle to express their love for each other and that will be reduced to a fully dressed warm hello. The world knows Elton’s gay. It’s no secret,” says this Rocketman source.

This has naturally led many — particularly gay male fans of the singer and his life story — to get upset. Even Elton John himself reportedly told filmmakers he wanted the entire story to be told, warts and all. “Tell it all. Go as R-rated as you need to,” he’s quoted as saying.

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Taron Egerton as Elton John

Even Egerton — brilliantly cast as Elton John after the two men appeared together in Kingsmen 2 — is likely to be upset were the Rocketman gay sex scene to be cut. He told MTV back in November, “I feel that the movie we’ve shot is absolutely a celebration of everything that Elton John is, and part of that is his sexuality.”

Egerton went on to say about the film’s handling of John’s sexuality, “I actually think the gay community will be quite surprised by how gay it feels. I’ve loved every second of it. I’m not someone who is remotely perturbed by male intimacy. I’m quite proud of what we’ve done in it.”

UPDATE, March 25: Director Dexter Fletcher has responded to rumors about the Rocketman gay sex scene through his Twitter account:

“Seeing much speculation about Rocketman!” he says. “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.”

The Hollywood Reporter has also said the Elton John biopic is expected to be released with an ‘R’ rating for not just sex but scenes involving drug use. A source close to the film told THR, “Filmmakers and Paramount are in discussions about the love scene, which has the F-word several times and includes brief rear nudity, and someone snorting cocaine.”

Will the Rocketman gay sex scene survive, or will it be cut in order to secure a more family-friendly rating? Only time will tell. Rocketman is scheduled to hit theaters on May 31.

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