Words: Steve Brown
Taron Egerton hopes the gay community feels a sense of ownership with Rocketman.
The 29-year-old actor will next be seen as Sir Elton John in the new ‘fantasy musical’ biopic based on the early life of the iconic singer which also stars Richard Madden and Jamie Bell.
And although he is aware the film - which is set to hit cinemas next month - is still in the editing room, he admits he wouldn't have played Elton if the film did not explore his sexuality, relationship with manager John Reid (Madden) and the singer's drink and drug addiction.
Taron Egerton, shot by Damon Baker at ADB Agency exclusively for Attitude's June issue
“I would not have played this character if: one, I wasn’t allowed to show Elton being a nightmare, because he has been; two, if we weren’t able to explore his drink-and-drug addiction because I don’t think you can tell a story without it; and three, if I didn’t think we could make a ﬁlm that the gay community would watch and feel a sense of ownership over.
"What right do I have to play Elton John if I am not going to go the same lengths to portray a gay relationship as a gay actor would?”
Although Egerton has opened up about his own sexuality recently - saying how he identifies as straight - the actor has weighed into the debate about whether a queer actor should have been given the opportunity to play the openly gay singer.
Photography: Damon Baker at ADB Agency
He continues: "It's easy for me to sit here as a white heterosexual man and say I should be able to play a part I want, but I completely understand why a gay actor would feel that this an opportunity for which they would be better suited.
"The way I feel about it is that Elton asked me to play in a movie about his life. I am proud and privileged to be playing this person who happens to be gay.
"And I want to live in a world where people are excited about playing people who are different from themselves, and I believe that there is something inclusive and progressive about that."
Read Taron's full interview in Attitude's June issue - out now.