Russian media have reportedly censored the film which includes men undressing, kissing, having sex and participating in a fantasy orgy.
A few days before the film’s release, Elton John shared his thoughts on the film and the desire of some studios to tone down the more hardcore moments in order to avoid an R rating. He firmly believes the movie shouldn’t stray from what actually happened.
“I just haven’t led a PG-13 rated life,” John says. “I didn’t want a film packed with drugs and sex, but equally, everyone knows I had quite a lot of both during the 70s and 80s, so there didn’t seem to be much point in making a movie that implied that after every gig, I’d quietly gone back to my hotel room with only a glass of warm milk and the Gideon’s Bible for company.”
According to The Guardian, a Russian media company altered the film removing roughly five minutes of footage citing laws that ban “homosexual propaganda.” A Russian film critic also says they cut a line at the end saying John was raising kids with his husband. Instead, it states he started an AIDS foundation and continues to work with his musical partner.
John and the filmmakers shared a joint statement denouncing the decision to censor the film which you can see below.
“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,” the statement reads.
“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.”
The musician is no stranger to speaking out against Russia’s anti-homosexuality laws, sharing a statement in 2014 against their anti-gay legislation.
He continued to play Russia on tour and speak on the topic leading to Russian President Vladimir Putin offering to meet and discuss gay rights. That meeting has reportedly not happened.
What do you think about Russia’s decision to censor Rocketman? Let us know in the comments below.