The R rating is due to the film’s depiction of sex and drug use. There is reportedly a sex scene between actor Taron Egerton, who plays Elton, and Richard Madden, who plays Elton’s former manager-turned-lover John Reid.
The $40 million film is still in the editing process, but according to Daily Mail, Paramount pressured the filmmakers to cut out the 40-second sex scene between Egerton and Madden. “Two guys have a naked cuddle to express their love for each other and that will be reduced to a fully dressed warm hello. The world knows Elton’s gay. It’s no secret,” said a source who worked on the film according to the report. Elton John himself reportedly pushed to keep the scene in the film, as he didn’t want any aspects of his life hidden.
Rocketman‘s director Dexter Fletcher also had a hand in the Oscar-winning Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody during the last three weeks of the film’s post production. Queen was released with a PG-13 rating, but garnered controversy over the film’s meager portrayal of Freddie Mercury’s sexuality and queerness.
Watch a snippet of Rocketman actors Taron Egerton and Richard Madden participating in a Carpool Karaoke version of Elton John’s hit “Rocketman.”