The music sensation is furious at the local distributors for censoring his biopic, titled Rocketman, in Russia. ‘Anti-gay propaganda’ laws in Conservative Russia have banned certain scenes in cinema since 2013. The movie will not be showing sex and drug scenes. Additionally, they also removed a picture of Elton with husband David Furnish and sons Zachary and Elijah.
A statement from Elton and the filmmakers said, “We reject in the strongest possible terms the decision to pander to local laws and censor Rocketman for the Russian market, a move we were unaware of until today. Paramount Pictures have been brave and bold partners in allowing us to create a film which is a true representation of Elton’s extraordinary life, warts and all.”
In addition, the statement noted, “That the local distributor has edited out certain scenes, denying the audience the opportunity to see the film as it was intended is a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people. We believe in building bridges and open dialogue, and will continue to push for the breaking down of barriers until all people are heard equally across the world.”
Taron Egerton is playing the role of Elton John in the movie. He posted on Instagram: “I am crestfallen that the decision was made to censor our movie for the Russian market.”
Russian film critic Anton Dolin wrote in a social media post that the cut was ‘nasty’ and ‘Sorry, Sir Elton’. He posted on Facebook: “All scenes with kissing, sex and oral sex between men have been cut out. The most nasty thing is that the final caption has been removed from the finale. The movie took only five minutes out, but it’s very noticeable. [Additionally] it’s about a principled five minutes, very important for artistic purposes.”
Watch the trailer for Rocketman below:
The Moscow Times revealed that the Russian Culture Ministry did not order the scenes to be cut. However, the distributor Central Partnership edited the movie to comply with Russian laws. Additionally, a statement from them said, “Changes were made to the film to comply with the legislation of the Russian Federation.”
Film critic Yegor Moskvitin saw Rocketman at Cannes Film Festival. He told the Moscow Times: “Several scenes had indeed disappeared from the Russian version.” John had already said he wanted the film to match his life as much as possible. Elton wrote in The Guardian himself, “Some studios wanted to tone down the sex and drugs so the film would get a PG-13 rating. But I just haven’t led a PG-13 rated life.”
Elton has yet to meet President Vladmir Putin to discuss LGBTQ issues.
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