Renowned music artist Elton John isn’t too happy with Russia for cutting out the gay sex scenes in his biopic. In fact, he’s quite furious as he and the makers rejected “in the strongest possible terms” the censorship of Rocketman.
Rocketman chronicles the colorful life of Elton John from adolescence to his early 40s. The biopic is directed by Dexter Fletcher. It stars Taron Egerton of Kingsman: The Secret Service and Richard Madden from Game of Thrones and Bodyguard. Since making its weekend debut, the film has been raved on by critics.
One of the aspects of the film that garnered praise is its honest portrayal of the musician’s sexuality. It is often compared to the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody that received criticism for allegedly “straight-washing” the Queen frontman.
So who isn’t pleased with the raw and honest portrayal of Elton’s sexuality? The Russian censors that cut explicit scenes from the film depicting same-sex intercourse and kissing. Initial reports of the censorship were received from Russian journalists who attended the film’s Moscow screening. Later on, The Guardian reported that about five minutes of footage had been removed from the movie. This is in accordance with Russian laws that ban any type of “homosexual propaganda”.
Now, Elton John and the makers of Rocketman have responded to the news in a statement that said:
“We reject in the strongest possible terms the decision to pander to local laws and censor ‘Rocketman’ for the Russian market, a move we were unaware of until today. Paramount Pictures have been brave and bold partners in allowing us to create a film which is a true representation of Elton’s extraordinary life, warts and all. That the local distributor has edited out certain scenes, denying the audience the opportunity to see the film as it was intended is a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people. We believe in building bridges and open dialogue, and will continue to push for the breaking down of barriers until all people are heard equally across the world.”
Rocketman’s Richard Madden who plays John Reid, Elton’s partner and manager, shared his sentiments that cutting the sex scene was a disservice to the iconic musician. There is no word as of yet regarding Russia’s reply to the rejection of the censorship.
Ben is is a senior journalist and sport columnist for Best in Australia. He previously worked for the BC and other radio stations.