Taron Egerton was the perfect choice to play Elton John, given the 30-year-old Welshman's considerable acting talent, powerful pipes, and close-enough physical resemblance to the iconic British singer-songwriter. Egerton had already showed what he could do vocally as John — albeit in the form of animated gorilla — in the 2016 family hit Sing.
And if you have seen Rocketman, the Dexter Fletcher-directed biopic that scored big at the box office in May and earned Egerton heaps of praise for his performance, chances are you would agree. The actor now stands squarely in the awards race, with a first Oscar nomination quite possible.
But to hear Egerton tell it, Rocketman got off to a rocky start.
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"At the end of the first day of shooting, I was convinced it was going to be a car crash, and I was going to be remembered as that guy who had that audacity to think he could go and play Elton John and sing all his music," Egerton admitted in recent wide-ranging interview with Yahoo Entertainment (watch highlights above).
"I really, really had a little freak-out in the car on the way back home to my apartment after filming."
In retrospect, the actor realised, he was trying to do too much.
"On the first day I felt like I had to be Elton John in everything he is," said Egerton, who was cast after Inception and Venom star Tom Hardy aged out of the role.
"Elton John wasn't an icon when he was 17 or whatever. And you remember that you've just to play a real person."
Ultimately, Egerton’s tenure portraying Elton proved fruitful; not long after the film was finished the actor discovered audiences believed he had done John justice.
Electric 4-minute ovation for #Rocketman a fantastical musical biopic about a creative legend and his battle with substance abuse. Star @TaronEgerton moved to tears by #cannes2019 reception, hug from Elton. Dexter fletcher says they’re blown away by reaction @rocketmanmovie pic.twitter.com/cVgQPvmGXM— Chris Gardner (@chrissgardner) May 16, 2019
"Before that moment, you're visualising scenarios where everyone hates it," Egerton explained. "You just don't know. You're only talking to people who are a part of it. You're only talking to people who are connected to the project.
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"And so the sense of relief I felt when you could feel — [grabbing his chest] you're going to get me going again — the sense of relief that I felt, and frankly, acceptance, was acute."
But above all, it was relief?
"It was mainly relief, yeah," he laughed.
Watch Egerton respond to rumours that he’s the next Wolverine: