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Elton John’s Husband Wouldn’t Let ‘Rocketman’ Cut Musical Orgy, But It Did Get Trimmed

The goal for the scene was to capture the hedonism of the singer's lifestyle without being gratuitous.

"Rocketman" Orgy

“Rocketman”

Paramount

Elton John has already gone on record saying he encouraged Paramount to make an R-rated “Rocketman” in order to accurately portray his life of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, but getting the film to include an orgy musical number needed more than just John’s approval. In an interview with HuffPo, “Rocketman” director Dexter Fletcher says the orgy moment would have been cut entirely had it not been for producer David Furnish, who also happens to be Elton John’s husband.

The scene in question is the musical number set to John’s smash hit song “Bennie and the Jets.” The moment finds a shirtless Taron Egerton crowdsurfing across a sea of dancers, some half dressed, others in Elton John-inspired costumes, and all writhing around on the floor and on each other’s bodies. The choreography creates a quasi-orgy as the crowd brings Egerton’s Elton John to a bed. Fletcher almost axed the number entirely but was encouraged to keep it in by Furnish. The director agreed, but the number ended up being trimmed down.

The full “Bennie and the Jets” sequence Fletcher shot included Egerton’s John getting to the bed and being drenched in popping bottles of champagne, a not-so-subtle visual climax to the music number’s orgy vibe.

“It was really beautiful and kind of balletic what went on there, but it didn’t communicate what I wanted it to,” Fletcher said. “It became really good to look at, but what’s it really saying?”

Fletcher deleted the ending and kept the length of the scene by cutting in to the existing footage fleeting moments from John’s childhood. The goal was to create the hedonistic sensation of any orgy without being particularly graphic or over-the-top ridiculous.

“Elton had reached a point where he was kind of on self-destruct, almost,” Fletcher said. “There was kind of this shallow attempt to throw himself into a lot of meaningless one-night stands that he would access through this crazy, hedonistic world. I wanted to create that, but I didn’t want it to be gratuitous and just be that for that’s sake.”

“Rocketman” is now playing in theaters nationwide.

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