Bryce Dallas Howard didn’t meet Elton John until last week (May 19, 2019) despite playing his mother in his new biopic Rocketman.
The American actress portrays the British rock legend’s formidable mum Sheila Farebrother in the movie, whose rocky relationship with her son resulted in them becoming estranged in 2008, only reconciling shortly before her death in 2017.
At Rocketman’s London premiere on Monday (May 20, 2019), Bryce told WENN that she didn’t even meet Elton until the film’s debut at the Cannes Film Festival last Thursday, as she wanted to ensure her research was objective and varied.
“I met him for the first time like four days ago,” she said. “But because he was so involved in the development of the script, I understood his perspective and I wanted to talk to people who weren’t involved in the production and who knew her. And that was incredibly important.”
A major theme of the movie is Elton’s search for love due to his cold relationship with his parents, who divorced when he was 14, and it includes a scene in which Sheila tells her son he will never find love due to his homosexuality.
Describing how she sees the pair’s troubled mother-son bond, Bryce explained: “Largely the impact was sadly negative, they had a very toxic relationship and it certainly informed a lot of the struggles that he went through and that you see him face in this movie.”
Although she didn’t meet the film’s subject and executive producer until recently, the Jurassic World actress spoke to co-star Taron Egerton, who plays Elton, for information – as he had read the musician’s private journals.
“Taron read Elton’s diaries and his autobiography and he was the only person who had read it (the diaries) and so it was very insightful,” she explained. “Lots of stories Elton shared that he had never shared before.”
Rocketman debuts in cinemas on Wednesday.