Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher responded late Friday to a report that Paramount is pressuring filmmakers to cut a very gay, very nude sex scene between Taron Egerton (Elton John) and Richard Madden to achieve a PG-13 rating. Madden plays John Reid, Elton’s manager and lover.
Tweeted Fletcher: “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 24. Dx x”
Wrote Baz Bamigboye of the reported cut in the Daily Mail: “Paramount Pictures have demanded that Rocketman director Dexter Fletcher and producer Matthew Vaughn cut a 40-second scene that shows Egerton, who plays the singer and Madden, cast as his one-time lover and manager John Reid, writhing on a bed. Fully exposed white derrieres are on display, but the nude escapade is tastefully done. Nonetheless, Paramount are forcing the director to cut the scene so it will have an American PG 13 rating (roughly the equivalent of a British 12A).”
Bamigboye’s report suggested the studio asked for the cut because it wants to replicate the box office success of Bohemian Rhapsody.
Egerton talked about a similar-sounding sex scene last November.
Egerton told The List: “I probably shouldn’t be telling you this but we have a sex scene. We went to some places together and got quite physical. I’ve watched it back and I think it looks great. The grown-up nature of the film, combined with it being a musical, makes it feel quite zeitgeisty. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this but it’s basically about Elton in rehab, so we’re not watering anything down.”
Paramount previewed footage from the film this week at The Troubadour in West Hollywood.
Wrote Variety‘s Marc Malkin of the event: ‘Before “Bohemian Rhapsody” was even released, a trailer sent some critics into a tailspin because they thought that its lack of gay content meant the film was going to be straight-washed. How far “Rocketman” goes isn’t clear from Monday’s preview except for a glimpse at a flirtation between the singer and his future boyfriend and manager John Reid (Richard Madden). Egerton did tell MTV News in November that the two share a love scene together and predicted the LGBTQ community will whole-heartedly embrace the movie.’
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