It was in the year 2000 when the energetic Jamie Bell beat 2,000 other hopefuls to play the son of a miner who can’t understand the dancing aspirations of his son in the hit film “Billy Elliot”.
Elton John was so moved by the story, that he agreed to write the music for the stage musical. And now in “RocketMan”, Bell is playing Elton’s longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin.
“What they have between them is kind of a beautiful, harmonious marriage, lightning in a bottle,” explains Bell. “In the film we see them meet, and they’re kind of two loners, who find each other and form a friendship that lasts a lifetime.”
And to think, it was a friendship that very nearly never happened in the first place. As
“RocketMan” documents, the meeting between the two men who have dominated the music charts for six decades happened entirely by chance.
“Bernie was only 17 or 18 when he met Elton,” says Bell of the moment that would change the course of music history forever. “Bernie had become a bit of a juvenile delinquent and ended up becoming a chicken farmer and saw no way out. He felt trapped. He saw this music advertisement and replied to it with something like, ‘I’m a poet and have some lyrics, if you are interested.”
“The amount of inner turmoil Elton has had to live with throughout his life makes things incredibly challenging for him,” says Bell. “So, to have someone like Bernie, who’s just present and consistent, is everything. The way that Elton talks about Bernie is so loving. The bond is very profound. It’s well documented that Elton once kind of made a fleeting pass at Bernie, and Bernie was like, ‘I love you, but that’s not going to happen.’ What I love about Bernie is that Bernie doesn’t judge. He accepts Elton for who he is. And even when Elton gets bigger and bigger, with the costumes and all that, he tells him that he doesn’t have to. He really believes in Elton’s ability. And when Elton sings at that piano, he gives people all this joy, and Bernie gets that. In the film, Bernie is always trying to course correct Elton back to the simple thing. That’s why he has always been so important.”
In cinemas now “RocketMan” is an epic musical fantasy about the incredible human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years. The film follows the fantastical journey of transformation from shy piano prodigy Reginald Dwight into international superstar Elton John. This inspirational story – set to Elton John’s most beloved songs and performed by star Taron Egerton – tells the universally relatable story of how a small-town boy became one of the most iconic figures in pop culture. “RocketMan” also stars Jamie Bell as Elton’s longtime lyricist and writing partner Bernie Taupin, Richard Madden as Elton’s first manager John Reid, and Bryce Dallas Howard as Elton’s mother Sheila Farebrother.