For decades, the film industry has lived by a secret maxim: if you want an emotional scene to land, stick in an Elton John song. The British singer/songwriter has long served as a benefactor to the Hollywood cause, contributing heartending ballads and invigorating anthems to the likes the Rocky and Lethal Weapon franchies, Almost Famous, Moulin Rouge!, and The Lion King. In the ultimate return of the favor, Rocket Pictures is a developing a biopic about John, which Deadline reports will, quite appropriately, take the form of a musical comprised of the icon's own songs.
The picture, titled Rocketman, has tacked on Michael Gracey to direct. Gracey should bring sufficient flare to the biopic — he's worked as a commercial director and visual effects artist on horror movies like Double Vision and Cubbyhouse, and the Heath Ledger-starring drama Ned Kelly. Rocketman will tell the story of Sir Elton John's life and career, starting from his embrace of music at age five, using his timeless hits to document some of the greater episodes throughout the journey.
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We can begin to imagine how this sort of project will manifest: with "Candle in the Wind," "Tiny Dancer," and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" backing the illustrations emotionally resonant turning points in his life. But we're thinking outside the box, here. Which Elton John songs will be woven into some of the less "inspiring" scenes in the movie?
"Flintstone Boy" (the forgettable bonus track on the'98 reissue of John's A Single Man)Scene: Before acquiring his knack for the ivories, a young Elton spends most of his time watching Hanna Barbera cartoons as this song plays in the background.
"All Quiet on the Western Front" (the closing track of John's '82 album Jump Up!)Scene: Being a musical prodigy is hard, but what's harder? High school book reports. The song chronicles a teenage Elton's frustration with Erich Maria Remarque's dry narration in his World War I seminal classic.
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"Between Seventeen and Twenty" (from John's '76 album Blue Movies)Scene: As biography films are wont to do, Rocketman will include a time-skipping montage, bumping Elton from his teen years to his early twenties for the sake of speedy narration. This applicably titled number accompanies the jump.
"January" (from John's '97 album The Big Picture) / "August October" (John's cover of the 1970 song by Robin Gibb)Scene: The songs, played simulatenously through this climactic scene, help to showcase that one time when an overtired Elton got really hazy and totally blanked on what month it was.
"Nikita" (from John's '85 alcum Ice on Fire)Scene: Paired with a later scene in the film, this number will depict Elton's deep, abiding love for CW dramas.
"The Last Song" (from John's '92 album The One)Scene: End credits.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter
[Photo Credit: Ron Howard/Getty Images]
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