As a report made the rounds this week claiming Rocketman, the upcoming Elton John biopic, would censor a nude scene between actors Taron Egerton and Richard Madden, director Dexter Fletcher offered a promise to moviegoers.
“Seeing much speculation about ROCKETMAN!! That’s good!” he wrote in a tweet on Friday. “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.”
With Egerton portraying John and Madden playing his lover and manager John Reid, The Daily Mail reported that heads of Paramount Pictures are allegedly “forcing” Fletcher and executive producer Matthew Vaughn to cut a 40-second scene from the film depicting the two men in “a nude cuddle.” This, according to the report, is to apparently secure a PG-13 rating from the MPAA instead of R.
Paramount had no official statement to provide when reached by EW, and reps for Fletcher, John, and Vaughn did not respond to EW’s request for comment.
The report quickly spread as it echos grievances from the LGBTQ community from the previous musical biopic Fletcher worked on, Bohemian Rhapsody. Many criticized the Freddie Mercury biopic, which landed Rami Malek a best actor Oscar win, for distorting events and straight-washing much of the LGBTQ material.
Though the film still isn’t finished, Rocketman is now expected to be R rated, EW has learned. The Hollywood Reporter further reports that “intimate love scene” is expected to remain intact, but cites a source confirming “discussions” between the filmmakers and the studio over the nude scene.
John, an openly gay man married to husband David Furnish, apparently told the Rocketman filmmakers to not hold anything back.
“This film is going to make people’s jaws hit the ground,” Vaughn previously told The Daily Mail. “Elton just said, ‘Tell it all. Go as R-rated as you need to.’ And we do just that, with his blessing. The flaws and the genius are all there.”
Rocketman, also starring Jamie Bell and Bryce Dallas Howard, features the music from John’s vast library as performed by Egerton. The film is pegged as “an epic musical fantasy about the uncensored human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years.” It will open in U.K. theaters on May 24 and U.S. theaters on May 31.