Gay sex scenes should not be a big deal, says Rocketman star Richard Madden

Gay sex scenes in films should not be a “big deal”, Rocketman star Richard Madden has said.

The Sir Elton John biopic, starring Taron Egerton as the singer and Madden as his manager John Reid, features a naked scene between the pair as well as passionate kissing between men.

Rocketman is the first major Hollywood movie to include on-screen gay sex scenes, marking a shift in mainstream cinema.

Richard Madden stars in Rocketman as Sir Elton John’s manager, John Reid (Ian West/PA)
Richard Madden stars in Rocketman as Sir Elton John’s manager, John Reid (Ian West/PA)

Madden hopes it will mean future films containing similar themes will be less remarkable.

He said: “The more we have these things in films the less of a big deal it’s going to become, and that’s what it should be – it shouldn’t be a big deal.

“But, particularly for us in this film, that scene is such a pivotal moment for Elton – it’s the first time he makes love with someone, it’s a really important change point in his life.

Taron Egerton stars as Sir Elton John in Rocketman (Ian West/PA)
Taron Egerton stars as Sir Elton John in Rocketman (Ian West/PA)

“And it gave us an opportunity to show their intimacy and that delicateness that’s really important to represent the start of that love story.”

Rocketman’s “warts and all” approach to Sir Elton’s life story has been compared favourably with Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, which was criticised for largely ignoring Freddie Mercury’s homosexuality.

Egerton, who has been widely praised for his portrayal of Sir Elton, said it was important for the Your Song singer’s sexuality to be “front and centre” of the film.

Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin attend the Rocketman premiere (Ian West/PA)
Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin attend the Rocketman premiere (Ian West/PA)

The 29-year-old said: “And you know, it never felt like a contentious thing to us. It really didn’t. I know the press have made it look like a contentious thing, which I think is sad in itself, but it never really was.

“I had anxieties about it, but I have anxieties about a great many things, and they say more about me than they do about any of my collaborators. ”

Rocketman, also starring Bryce Dallas Howard as Sir Elton’s mother Sheila Eileen and Jamie Bell as his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, made its debut at Cannes earlier this month, where it was given a standing ovation.

Bryce Dallas Howard plays Sir Elton John’s mother in Rocketman (Ian West/PA)
Bryce Dallas Howard plays Sir Elton John’s mother in Rocketman (Ian West/PA)

Egerton, also known for starring in spy comedy Kingsman, said watching the film with an audience was a nerve-wracking experience.

He said: “My breath was very high in my chest, and I relaxed a little bit after Your Song, because people made it very obvious that they approved, and from there on I slowly began to unwind, and then when I realised the movie was going to end, again the anxiety started to climb back up.

“But that’s only because it’s the culmination of a very long road, because I don’t have any anxiety about the film. I feel relatively bulletproof actually, because I am very proud of it.

“And inevitably, making films, they’re subjective, so I welcome differences of opinion, but I’m very proud of it.”

Rocketman is in UK cinemas on Friday May 24.

- Press Association

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