Playing Elton John in “Rocketman” is a gamble that has paid off for Taron Egerton, as the R-rated fantasy musical has earned rave reviews and a strong opening weekend.
But can we talk about the pain?
The 29-year-old British actor, who acknowledges he doesn’t do all of his own stunts in his “Kingsman” spy franchise, insisted on taking on any aspect of John’s life he could. That includes performing all of his own vocals as John and handling many of the stunts.
“The character of Elton is my character, and I didn’t want any moment in the film to be anyone else’s,” Egerton says.
That’s a risky proposition considering his elaborate Elton John costumes alone, which often required making stage maneuvers in towering platform shoes.
“I have bad ankles and I never once twisted my ankle,” says Egerton, who played rugby. “Perhaps I was born for high heels.”
One of the most prominent “Rocketman” stunts involved a power tumble down the stairs of John’s mansion as the rock star struggles with drugs and alcohol. The close-up shot makes it clear that it’s Egerton taking the fall for cameras.
The actor decided on the shooting day to take the fall and planned it out with the stunt coordinators.
“I felt keenly that I could do that and do it safely,” says Egerton. “I have a back pad on. And I threw myself down the stairs. It looks painful and dangerous. But I didn’t get hurt in the slightest. And it’s quite shocking in the film. I’m so glad we did it.”
Another spectacular moment comes in an intricate “Rocketman” montage that begins with John – depressed, drugged and drunk – trying to kill himself by falling into his pool during a party.