As you are probably aware, the Elton John musical fantasy/biopic Rocketman is coming to a theater near you beginning May 31. But depending on your movie tastes, you may not be as familiar with the young actor that was chosen to play Sir Elton in the film.
Taron Egerton is an English-born actor who was raised in Wales. He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London where he graduated with honors in 2012. But what may have sealed the deal when it came to the winning the lead role in Rocketman was his vocal prowess. (It’s all Egerton singing in the film.)
Taron talked about his musical roots in a 2016 interview for Bustle.
“Choral singing is a very big thing in Wales. It was something I did a lot in school. When I was 17 I started experimenting with singing solo, I did an amateur musical, and when I was in drama school I was encouraged to sing. I also did a singing competition that went well.”
Check out the trailer where you can see (and hear) Egerton’s transformation from shy piano prodigy Reginald Dwight into international superstar Elton John.
But what was Egerton doing before he took on the role of a pop music legend? As you can see from a sampling of his credits below, he was keeping himself quite busy. He’s played an attempted murder victim, a soldier, an undercover spy in training, a crazy underworld henchman, an unlikely Olympic record holder, and yes, a singing gorilla.
Inspector Lewis (2013)
Early in his career, Egerton made a guest appearance on the Lewis episode “The Ramblin’ Boy.” He played Liam Jay, a student and part-time funeral home employee who may have stumbled across something dangerous. And yeah, he also sings…
Testament of Youth (2015)
In this World War I drama based on the memoir of writer and pacifist Vera Brittain, Taron portrayed Vera’s younger brother, Edward. Against their father’s wishes, Vera (Alicia Vikander) applies to join Edward at Oxford. Later when war breaks out, Vera helps convince Mr. Brittain to allow his son to leave school and join the army.
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)
Egerton's first big screen starring role was that of Gary “Eggsy” Unwin in Kingsman: The Secret Service. A bright, talented kid from a rough neighborhood, Eggsy is bailed out of jail by a stranger named Harry Hart (Colin Firth). Harry encourages Eggsy to train for a vacancy in his secret intelligence organization, Kingsman.
Egerton returned to play Eggsy as a full-fledged agent in the 2017 Kingsman sequel, The Golden Circle. (FYI: Elton John played himself in that film. He had been kidnapped by Julianne Moore's villainous Poppy Adams and was forced to sing for her.)
In this biographical drama, the infamous Kray twins (both played by Tom Hardy) terrorize London through their criminal underworld empire called the Firm. Egerton portrayed Mad Teddy Smith, a psychopathic gay henchman rumored to have been very close with Ronnie Kray.
Eddie the Eagle (2016)
This underdog biopic about Eddie Edwards, the improbable British ski jumper who won the hearts of sports fans around the world, started in development in 2007 with comedian Steve Coogan on board to portray the skier. A few years later, Harry Potter star Rupert Grint was linked to the role.
The film finally came to fruition with Egerton as Edwards, the courageous athlete who never quit in his quest to be an Olympian. Hugh Jackman co-starred as Eddie’s trainer, Bronson Peary, who helped guide him to a historic showing at the 1988 Calgary Winter Games.
You may recall the animated musical about a koala impresario (Matthew McConaughey) who sponsors a singing competition in hopes of saving his ramshackle theater. Egerton voiced one of the contestants - Johnny, a teenage gorilla trying to find a way to realize his dream of being a singer rather than following in the footsteps of his mobster father.
Egerton soulfully lends his pipes a variety of numbers in the film including Sam Smith’s "Stay with Me", John Legend's "All of Me" and, you guessed it, Elton John’s "I’m Still Standing".
More recently, Taron provided voice-over talents for the 2018 BBC mini-series adaptation of Watership Down. He played El-Ahrairah, the early ancestor of the Watership Down warren and Prince of the Rabbits.
He also starred in two other projects in 2018; as the titular character in yet another version of Robin Hood and in a big screen remake of the 80's mini-series, Billionaire Boys Club. Neither were well received by critics or audiences. I have a feeling his newest project will fare much better.
Are you looking forward to seeing Rocketman? Are you already a fan of Mr. Egerton? Let’s discuss in the comments.