During the 77th Golden Globes ceremony, Taron Egerton received an award for his no-holds-barred portrayal of the musical icon Elton John in Dexter Fletcher’s Rocketman. Winning the category of Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, the 30-year-old actor was celebrated for both his acting and singing performances. 

Rocketman is a musical fantasy biopic based on the extraordinary life of Elton John, following his transformation from a shy small-town piano prodigy into an international singing-songwriting sensation. The film explores John’s influential and enduring musical partnership with Bernie Taupin, a lyricist with whom he collaborated on more than 30 albums including over fifty Top 40 hits. 

In Rocketman, Egerton bravely accepted the challenge to sing every song in the movie himself. John, who’s credited as a producer on the film, told IndieWire, “When I watch the movie, I don’t see an actor, I see myself, which is an extraordinary thing for an actor to do. He’s extraordinary.”

Destined to play Elton John

It seems Egerton was destined to portray John. Starting at the age of 17, the Welsh actor auditioned for drama school by performing John’s “My Song.” In 2016, Egerton voiced Johnny the Gorilla in the animated film Sing whose big number at the end is John’s “I’m Still Standing.” And in 2017, Egerton appeared with John in the film Kingsman: The Golden Circle. “It’s weird. It’s like the universe is bringing us together,” Egerton said in an Australian TV interview.

Preparing for the role

“I did read [Elton John’s] diaries in preparation for the role,” Egerton shared, emphasizing that John invited him to check out his diaries from the years 1970 to 1976. “And they’re so hilariously pedestrian. One entry will be, ‘The washing machine is broken. Wrote a song called ‘Honky Cat.’’”

To capture John’s distinct hairline, Egerton shaved a portion of his head. And hoping to complete the look, the actor attempted to wear a mouthpiece featuring a gap between the two upper front teeth. But the dental piece interfered with his ability to sing. “During a camera test, I was singing a song and the teeth flew out of my mouth! And it’s quite hard to sing with fake teeth. I was quite stressed out at the prospect [of not being able to wear them],” the actor recalled. Fortunately, a skilled make-up artist was able to paint a dark gap on Egerton’s real teeth “and it worked really really well,” he said.

During an On Demand Entertainment interview with Elton John himself, Egerton attempted to share his process of getting into character. “What I focused on was looking at the similarities between you and I—or the things that I perceive similarities to you and I,” the actor shared. “I am someone who is prone to some of the extremes of existence, I would say; in some respects, I know that’s you too. And it felt like a very important film to me to tell the story in a certain way, and it’s always something that I’ve felt very emotionally connected to, and I’ve loved it. But in terms of me trying to demystify the process of acting, I don’t know really. You just sort of throw yourself into it.” Also, John’s steadfast encouragement helped Egerton to feel relaxed about the process and to muster the courage to pull off the difficult feat.

What’s next for Egerton?

As of now, Egerton is set to work on Sing 2, reprising the voice of Johnny the Gorilla, which will be released in 2021. Other than that, the future is wide open for the star. “I really like roles that I feel a bit frightened of,” he says looking forward to what’s to come. “And I really like things that make you look different and feel different.”