Bohemian Rhapsody was a far greater box office and Oscars success than Rocketman. However, Elton remains staunchly proud of his film, produced by his husband David Furnish and directed by Dexter Fletcher. Even many Queen fans have criticised the Queen and Freddie Mercury movie for rearranging timelines and manipulating certain moments in the band’s history. Some also accused the film of glossing over the more troubling parts of Freddie’s life. Now Elton has added his views.
US industry bible Variety asked Elton what he really thought of the two films as he arrived at this annual Oscars party in Los Angeles.
The legend had collected the Best Original Song Oscar that evening for the Rocketman track (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again, written especially for the film.
He said: “Ours tells the truth — even though it’s a fantasy… My life can’t be sugarcoated, and I didn’t want it to be.”
Queen stars Brian May and Roger Taylor had answered criticisms of their film by explaining their intention was to make a family-friendly film that would celebrate their bandmate and friend.
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However, many fans felt the movie shied away from the harsher truths of Freddie’s life, from his drug use and partying to his sex life.
Nor does it ever show Freddie at his lowest points, while also completely rearranging how he discovered his AIDS diagnosis and subsequently told the band.
In real life, Freddie revealed the truth to very few people for many years.
Close friends, his bandmates and even family were not told until his health had begun to noticeably decline.
Rocketman showed Elton’s ugly and self-destructive battle with addiction and some unapologetic sex scenes between the singer and male lovers.
Elton was a lifelong friend of Freddie and one of the few who were permitted to visit him in the final weeks when the star was bedbound and close to the end.
He has spoken movingly of the emotional final visits and how Freddie retained his outrageous sense of humour and generosity even as he suffered greatly.
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However much Elton was one of the only people in the world who saw the reality of Freddie’s life in his heyday and eventual decline, he still had praise for both movies.
He told Variety: “Rami Malek’s performance won him an Oscar. Taron’s didn’t get nominated, but they were both great performances…
“I wanted to win for Taron Egerton, who was so amazing through this whole film — and he will win an Oscar someday.”
Elton also acknowledged the profound differences between the two films and their intentions.
Elton added: “Bohemian Rhapsody’ was a film for everyone, and it worked brilliantly.
“It brought the great music of Freddie Mercury to a whole bunch of people who would have never heard of him. I’m thrilled for the guys [in Queen].”
Bohemian Rhapsody took $903.6million at the worldwide box office, while Rocketman grossed $195million.
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