Elton John says he refused to tone down the sex and drugs in Rocketman

“I haven’t led a PG-13 life.”

May 26, 2019
Elton John says he refused to tone down the sex and drugs in <i>Rocketman</i> Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

As Elton John's biopic debuts around the world this month, the singer has written an essay about the project. For the Guardian, John reflects on Rocketman and opening up to the idea of seeing his light play out on the big screen. The biopic is directed by Dexter Fletcher. Taron Egerton stars as Elton John.

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"I’ve never been very interested in looking back at my career. It happened, I’m incredibly grateful, but I’m more interested in what I’m doing next rather than what I did 40 years ago," he writes. "But that began to change a little the older I got, and I really started to approach things in a different way when I had children. I was 63 when our first son, Zachary, was born, 65 when Elijah came along – and I did start thinking about them in 40 years’ time, being able to see or read my version of my life. I became less conscious about keeping it all to myself. I liked the idea of them having a film and an autobiography, where I was honest."

In the essay, John also says he shunned the idea of making a "PG-13" biopic that glosses over the drugs and sex he's partaken in.

"Some studios wanted to tone down the sex and drugs so the film would get a PG-13 rating. But I just haven’t led a PG-13 rated life," he says. I didn’t want a film packed with drugs and sex, but equally, everyone knows I had quite a lot of both during the 70s and 80s, so there didn’t seem to be much point in making a movie that implied that after every gig, I’d quietly gone back to my hotel room with only a glass of warm milk and the Gideon’s Bible for company."

Rocketman opens in the U.S. on May 31.

Elton John says he refused to tone down the sex and drugs in Rocketman