In what could be the most unexpected, left-field but totally awesome casting decisions made this year, Tom Hardy is reportedly being lined up to play Elton John in the musical biopic Rocketman. In development for several years and described as a "biographical musical fantasy", the drama would celebrate the life and music of the charismatic and legendary performer and also explore John's relationship with lyricist Bernie Taupin. Hitfix reports that Michael Gracey (a first time director who also is attached to a biopic of P.T. Barnum, "The Greatest Showman On Earth", which Hugh Jackman would lead) and Executive Producer Elton John are seriously considering Hardy for the lead role. For Hardy, playing Elton John would be a million miles away from the alpha male characters of Bane, Bronson, Tommy Conlon (his MMA fighter from Warrior) he has portrayed recently, and of course Mad Max, the reboot which he has out next year. Over the past few years he has exuded a dominant physical presence that completely dwarfs over any other actor he shares the screen with and it makes him the last person you would think could play John, but then Hardy has undeniably got a effeminate and flamboyant side to his nature, projected perfectly in his character Eames from Inception or his Handsome Bob character from RocknRolla. After seeing the praise of Michael Douglas' performance as Liberace and the awards plaudits that could come his way, there's an obvious attraction to this role that could draw in the likes of Hardy to commit to it. Though nobody quite knows if Hardy can sing, or whether that would even be a factor here? Last September we reported that Billy Elliot writer Lee Hall was putting together the screenplay which producer Steve Hamilton Shaw described as thus;
Rocketman will be a radically different kind of biopic It will be as unique as Eltons life, told in a non-linear and hyper-visual manner that will transport people through the many intense experiences, some wonderful, some not, that helped define Elton as an artist, musician and man.
Deadline called the film inventive in their original report and claimed and;
One device will be to feature choreographed sequences using Johns biggest hit songs. Those tunes will be part of the movie package and will drive a story that will cover the rough spots in Johns journey of self-discovery.
The movie is setup at United Artists and apparently there's a role for someone to play a younger version of John, which Ben Foster is said to be part of a big "wanted" list for. Which seems a little odd to me as I don't particularly consider Hardy to be much different in age to Foster or Foster to be a more conventional John than Hardy. Though it's just hypothetical from Hardy's POV right now... we don't know if he's interested, or even if his schedule would allow him even the luxury of possibility taking on the gig, or if an offer will even come his way. Hardy's got a pretty busy schedule and no doubt frequent offers on his desk, not least a potential trilogy biopic of Al Capone that Harry Potter director David Yates is just desperate to setup for him. But for an actor who just loves to show off his versatility and range and defy audience expectations... being asked to play the iconic and complicated Elton John in a movie may very well be too good an opportunity to turn down. Let's hope it happens.