Elton John felt the love Thursday night at the Cannes Film Festival.
“Rocket Man,” a musical biopic about the singer’s life, landed with fireworks at its premiere in the South of France. The movie received an enthusiastic five-minute standing ovation, although much of the applause was directed to the legend in attendance, who donned a tuxedo with a glittering brooch shaped like a rocket and the words to his most famous song stitched in sparkles on the back of his jacket.
Taron Egerton, who plays John in the film, fought back tears as the Palais erupted in cheers for the movie, which will be released by Paramount Pictures in the United States on May 31.
Much like the box office phenomenon “Bohemian Rhapsody” about Freddie Mercury, “Rocketman” takes us through a catalogue of its subject’s greatest hits. The cast includes Jamie Bell as lyricist Bernie Taupin, Richard Madden as a nefarious ex-boyfriend/manager and Bryce Dallas Howard as Sheila Eileen, John’s mother.
After the film ended, hundreds attended an after-party on Carlton Beach that included a surprise musical performance. John took a seat behind a piano, as he belted out “I’m Still Standing” against the backdrop of the French Riviera. The music video for that 1983 song was, coincidentally, shot on the same beach in Cannes.
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Then John called up Egerton onstage. “When I watch the movie, I don’t see an actor,” John said. “I see myself. And that is an extraordinary thing for an actor to do. He has given a million percent of him in this performance.”
The night concluded with Egerton singing the lyrics to “Rocket Man,” with John accompanying him on the piano. It was an electrifying performance that won over everybody, even those who may have been more mixed on the film itself.