Tom Hardy, the star of Bronson, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, is officially on board to portray John in Rocketman, which is to be directed by Michael Gracey (the forthcoming The Greatest Showman on Earth) and written for the screen by Lee Hall (Billy Elliott).
In addition, Focus Features have stepped in to act as lead distributors in the US, certifying a major platform release upon its completion (an exact date is TBC, but filming is set to begin next autumn), and will co-produce along with John’s multimedia platform Rocket Pictures. Described as “a larger-than-life movie musical spectacle that tells the story of a child prodigy turned music legend,” Rocketman will see John re-record some of his biggest hits to match the emotional beats throughout the movie. So, be prepared to hear the man himself belt out new versions of hits like Candle in the Wind, Your Song, possibly Can You Feel The Love Tonight? (depending on whether Disney allows them access to the rights for the Lion King song) and many others.
In a statement regarding the casting, Rocket Pictures CEO Steve Hamilton Shaw said: “Tom is a stellar talent who will add extraordinary depth and nuance in bringing Elton’s story to life… We are excited to have such a gifted actor on board, and equally excited to be in the hands of Peter Schlessel and the entire Focus Features team.”
Schlessel provided the following comments: “Tom is quickly becoming known as one of the world’s most versatile actors, and like others at the top of their craft, he has proven his ability to transform himself completely into the character or subject found in the material. We are confident that Tom will embody the physicality and spirit of Sir Elton. This, in conjunction with the creative team led by Michael and Rocket Pictures, will provide the foundation for something that will be a unique cinematic event.”
Rocketman is being produced by Steve Hamilton Shaw and David Furnish of Rocket Pictures and Lawrence Bender on behalf of AI Film, the film production and financing company created out of the acquisition of Icon by Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries. Sir Elton John and Len Blavatnik are executive producing, along with AI Film CEO Aviv Giladi and Focus Features CEO Peter Schlessel. UTA Independent Film Group arranged financing for the project and negotiated the project’s sale to FilmDistrict. Good Universe is handling international sales. Incoming Focus CEO Peter Schlessel, brought Rocketman from FilmDistrict to Focus Features.
Thanks to a slew of high profile film credits, and even a BAFTA win in the Rising Star Award category in 2011, Hardy is well and truly coming into his own as a great actor and personality. Hopefully, his turn as Elton John in Rocketman will give him even more attention and cement his rise to glory as firmly as possible. It might take a while to see him in action, but when we do it will certainly be worth the wait…