Rocketman star Taron Egerton has spoken out after it was revealed gay sex scenes were censored from the film’s release in Russia.
The filmmakers have blamed a “local distributor” in Russia for the decision to gut gay scenes from the Elton John biopic depicting the singer’s rise to stardom.
The changes to the film remove around five minutes of footage, including a sex scene between Elton John and his manager John Reid, played by Taron Egerton and Richard Madden.
Taron Egerton ‘disappointed’ by gay sex censorship
Egerton, who previously spoke about the importance of the film’s LGBT+ visibility, condemned the decision in a statement on Instagram.
“Love is love. No compromises.”
— Taron Egerton
He said: “I am crestfallen that the the decision was made to censor our movie for the Russian market. I’m even more disappointed to hear about it second hand today on the day of our domestic release.
“I in no way condone this decision and feel disappointed I wasn’t made aware and given the chance to fight this move. Love is love. No compromises.”
Fellow actors Alex Pettyfer and Charlie Carver praised Egerton for the stance, and Queer Eye star Tan France added: “PREACH!! ????”
Elton John has also condemned the decision in a joint statement with the filmmakers.
The statement reads: “We reject in the strongest possible terms the decision to pander to local laws and censor Rocketman for the Russian market, a move we were unaware of until today.
“Paramount Pictures have been brave and bold partners in allowing us to create a film which is a true representation of Elton’s extraordinary life, warts and all.
“That the local distributor has edited out certain scenes, denying the audience the opportunity to see the film as it was intended is a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people.
“We believe in building bridges and open dialogue, and will continue to push for the breaking down of barriers until all people are heard equally across the world.”
Production company will ‘adhere to local laws and requirements’
A statement from Paramount Pictures claimed the company is committed to releasing the film “in its entirety around the world” but said its releases will adhere to “local laws and requirements.”
The company explained: “We are incredibly proud of the movie that we made, which is told in the way that Elton John wanted his story to be depicted.
“We are releasing the film in its entirety around the world regardless of rating, but like all studios, we must adhere to local laws and requirements in certain territories in which the film is being shown.”
Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody was also censored in international markets to remove LGBT+ content, though the filmmakers and star Rami Malek did not comment on the decision.