Russian version of new Elton John biopic, ‘Rocketman,’ removes all gay scenes
Moviegoers in Russia won’t see the full version of “Rocketman,” a new biopic from Paramount Pictures about the musician Elton John, starring Taron Egerton. At the film’s premiere in Moscow on May 30, journalists learned that the Russian edit of the movie cuts all scenes showing men kissing and engaging in sexual intimacy. All scenes showing the use of illegal narcotics have also been removed.
According to film critic Anton Dolin, who attended the Moscow premiere, the Russian version of “Rocketman” censors “five crucial minutes that are vital to the picture’s artistic design.” Fellow critic Egor Moskvitin, who saw the full version of the movie at the Cannes Film Festival, says the epilogue in the Russian edit removes language about Elton John meeting the love of his life and a photograph of the happy couple together.
The film’s distributor in Russia, “Central Partnership,” told the news agency TASS that the movie was changed “to comply with the laws of the Russian Federation.” Russia’s Culture Ministry told RIA Novosti, however, that it made no recommendations to the distributor about removing scenes from “Rocketman.” “This was exclusively the company’s decision,” an official spokesperson said.
“Rocketman” is scheduled for release in Russia on June 6. The film is restricted to adults.
This March, a censored version of the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” hit theaters in China, removing five scenes that mentioned Mercury’s homosexuality. Rated “18 or older,” the film was released uncensored in Russia in November 2018.