Rocketman: Elton John Musical Biopic–R Rated?

Paramount’s Elton John musical, Rocketmanproduced by John’s husband, David Furnish, is expected to be rated R.

The reason: It includes an intimate love scene between Taron Egerton, who plays the English singer, and Richard Madden, who plays John’s former manager and lover, John Reid.

Director Dexter Fletcher is editing the film, which is rumored to world premiere at the Cannes Film Fest, in mid-May.

It is slated for release in the U.S. on May 31, and in the U.K. on May 24, and

After a Daily Mail story reported that Paramount is pressuring filmmakers to cut at least part of the scene, Fletcher tweeted, “Seeing much speculation about ROCKETMAN!! That’s good! It’s still unfinished so it’s nothing but rumors. It has and always will be the no holds barred, musical fantasy that Paramount and producers passionately support and believe in. See for yourself May 24. Dx x.”

Paramount test screened an unfinished cut of Rocketman last week in Pasadena, according to some sources, and received scores in the high 80s.

The musical deals with some challenging themes, including John’s drug addiction and rehab. It also includes scenes from the singer’s childhood as a student at the Royal Academy of Music, his friendship with writing partner Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell), and his acceptance of his sexuality.

According to one source close to the production, filmmakers and Paramount are in discussions about the love scene, which has the F-word several times and includes brief rear nudity, and someone snorting cocaine.

Fletcher shot the last three weeks of principal production on Bohemian Rhapsody after Fox fired director Bryan Singer.

The producers’ decision to release the Queen biopic as a PG-13 film which spent little time on singer Freddie Mercury’s sexuality was controversial among some film critics.  But the picture earned $879 million at the worldwide box office and won four Oscars, including Best Actor for Rami Malek.

From the beginning, Rocketman‘s producers, including Matthew Vaughn, envisioned it as a grittier film, with Egerton singing John’s songs live, and with the singer’s sexuality explored in depth.