Why Elton John Sings ‘Crocodile Rock’ Two Years Early in ‘Rocketman’
Dexter Fletcher, director of the upcoming Elton John movie Rocketman, said he had no concerns about the scene where John performs his song “Crocodile Rock” two years before he actually wrote it.
The moment is one of several that underlines the fantasy aspect of the musical. Along with singing the 1972 song during his U.S. debut appearance in Los Angeles in 1970, John – played by Taron Egerton – is seen beginning to float above his piano in the iconic Troubadour venue.
“I was aware of that,” Fletcher told Rolling Stone in a new interview. “But what I care about is capturing the moment cinematically and musically.”
He went on to explain that the story is framed around John’s recollections of his career while he’s in rehab in the early ‘90s. “He’s our narrator, and he’s telling the story as he recalls it,” Fletcher said.
“He’s dealing with his demons and trying to see the light again through the darkness. That lends itself to imagination and these kind of emotional beats and gestures. And what I find interesting about that is that I can tell you a story of an event that I remember, but it’s going to be colored by my own perception of what was going on at that time.”
John and Egerton recently discussed the fact that only the actor is heard singing during the movie. “We don’t use any original recordings of Elton,” Fletcher confirmed. “If I’m putting together a sequence and I dig something out of Elton’s catalog, like [1970’s] ‘Amoreena’ for instance, Taron has to go back in the studio and record it. … I was absolutely adamant that we only use Taron.”
“Musicals are all about expressing yourself through song,” Egerton noted. “If you don’t sing them yourself then you aren’t really expressing anything. ... The film asks you to take an imaginative leap, as you would if you went to the theater. It’s not a Wikipedia entry.”
Rocketman opens on May 31, with advance screenings taking place on May 18.