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Taron Egerton plays Elton John in biopic ‘Rocketman’. He describes his favorite outfit from the movie and his music inspiration.
Harrison Hill, USA TODAY

The countdown is underway for the Elton John film “Rocketman,” which will be unveiled Thursday in a gala world premiere at Cannes Film Festival.

“Kingsman: The Secret Service” star Taron Egerton, 29, will step out for the first time onscreen as the famously flamboyant rocker in the biographical drama directed by Dexter Fletcher. “Rocketman” stars Richard Madden (“Game of Thrones”) as John Reid, John’s manager and one-time lover, and Jamie Bell as Bernie Taupin, John’s famed songwriting partner.

Speaking before taking off to the South of France, Egerton told USA TODAY it was “daunting” to attend his first Cannes, where the film will be shown off as he sits next to the singer (a producer on the project), John’s husband David Furnish and Taupin.

“This film has been so protected and kept under wraps. Obviously, I’m very pleased with it. But you can never predict how people will take to it,” Egerton says. “But one thing I do know is, I’m very at peace with what this is. And I’m very proud it. That’s quite a nice jumping-off point.”

“There’s not a great deal I would change,” he added, calling the film “brave.”

“Rocketman” will be in theaters May 31.

Elton John’s ‘Rocketman’: Taron Egerton reveals first footage

Taron Egerton prepares to take flight in “Rocketman.” (Photo: GAVIN BOND/PARAMOUNT)

Portions of the concert footage showing Egerton decked in outlandish stage attire have already become commonplace. The Welsh actor, who sang John’s song “I’m Still Standing” in the 2016 animated musical “Sing,” performed all the “Rocketman” vocals and concert routines.

He’s already earned praise for his vocals and showmanship from John, who met Egerton when he shot a cameo for 2017’s “Kingsman: The Golden Circle.”

The icon’s adoring public is the next to judge.

“I don’t know if I have quite reached the dazzling heights of Elton’s extraordinary stage performance,” says Egerton. “But I hope it’s evocative of him. And I’ve loved the challenge of it all. It’s been the most demanding job in my career, and the least demanding, since I’ve skipped into work every day.”

He’s not looking to match the giddy $903 million global box office and awards success of last year’s Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” – even though John continues to pull in crowds for his live show, still touring the world for fans at 72. 

“To think that we’re going to make a billion dollars (in box office) is probably not a healthy way of looking at things. So we should adjust our expectations,” says Egerton. “But ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ shows there’s an appetite for this type of movie.”

Aside from stylistic differences with the anthem rock-filled Queen film, “Rocketman” is R-rated, which automatically limits the audience. The film deals with John’s struggles with alcohol, eventual rehab and stormy personal relations (along with a steamy sex scene with Madden’s Reid). 

“The film is celebratory and joyous,” Egerton says. “But it’s a movie about someone going to rehab,” so it has some dark moments.

Beyond the high-profile venue, the Cannes liftoff is especially significant, as John is a fixture in the region. Egerton is staying in the famed Carlton Hotel, where John shot his music video for “I’m Still Standing.”

“It’s just a lovely bit of symmetry,” says Egerton.

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