Taron Egerton says there was no roadmap for his work in ‘Rocketman’

Taron Egerton says there was no roadmap for his work in ‘Rocketman’
David Appleby/Paramount Pictures
Taron Egerton as Elton John at the Troubadour club, the performance that broke John as an act in the US.

Taron Egerton, the 29-year-old British actor who gained notoriety in films like “The Smoke” and the “Kingsman” franchise, has taken on the role of a lifetime playing music icon Elton John in the biopic, “Rocketman.”

When speaking to CNN at the film’s New York premiere, the Egerton reflected his preparation for the role and what he learned about the 5-time Grammy winner.

The movie highlights Elton John’s tough childhood and addiction to drugs and alcohol. How much did you know about his upbringing before you took on the role?

“I knew he’d had his fair share of troubles [that] he had problems with substances and all of that, but I didn’t really appreciate how difficult his upbringing had been. Of course there are elements to our story — Elton said in an article recently not every fact in this movie is true — but it is the truth and I love that. I think it perfectly encapsulates what we tried to do, it’s about capturing the spirit of him.”

How did you prepare to take on the role, both physically and getting into the right mindset?

“You just spend a long time obsessing and consuming information. I spent a lot of time with Elton. You make the story important to yourself and then in addition to that, we were in the studio preparing the songs for four or five months before we started.”

How did Elton help you for the film?

“We sat and we would talk over food for many hours. We became friends and you ask the questions that you think are relevant to you doing your job well. But it’s not like a vocational trade, where there’s a certain step-by-step guide. It’s a fairly nebulous kind of thing, you make yourself care as much as you can about the character and then you imagine you’re them, and then someone puts you in a costume that you helped pick, and someone does your makeup that you helped bring together, and then you pretend to be him.”

The film has so many memorable moments from John’s famous Dodger Stadium performance in 1975 to his first night at the Troubadour. Do you have a favorite scene in the movie?

“There are so many [scenes]. I love ‘Saturday Night’s Are Up For Fighting,’ I love ‘Your Song.’ I love our first scene together where I meet Jamie Bell, and I love the scene where John Reid and Elton have their final argument and I throw the ashtray at the door just because I think it’s very raw.”

“Rocketman” is out in theaters now.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.