Disney Original Documentary and Disney+ have landed the Elton John documentary “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: The Final Elton John Performances and The Years That Made His Legend,” a project intended as a capstone for the rockstar’s five-decade career.
David Furnish, Elton John’s longtime partner, will direct the documentary alongside R.J. Cutler, who directed the Billie Eilish documentary “The World’s a Little Blurry” for Apple TV+ last year, which earned four Emmy nominations. The film will be centered around John’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour, featuring exclusive interviews and footage from the musician’s final concerts, along with never-before-seen footage and photos from throughout his career.
“There are no superlatives left to describe Elton John and his impact on music and culture — he’s simply unrivaled,” said Disney CEO Bob Chapek. “Like a good Disney story, Elton’s music has both universal appeal and the ability to connect with audiences on a deeply personal level. He has been part of the Disney family since 1994 when he helped make ‘The Lion King’ an instant classic, and we could not be more excited to collaborate with him on this new documentary.”
Disney may have awards aspirations for this film, as there are reportedly plans to screen “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” on the festival circuit and in theaters for a limited time ahead of its Disney+ release. Disney has made music documentaries a major draw of its streaming service, releasing Peter Jackson’s “The Beatles: Get Back” as well as Beyonce’s visual album “Black Is King” and Billie Eilish’s concert film “Happier Than Ever.”
“What a thrill and an honor it is that David Furnish and I get to create this intimate and unique look at one of the world’s most celebrated artists,” said Cutler. “As it has for so many others, Elton John’s music has had deep meaning for me for decades, and this opportunity is nothing short of a career highlight and privilege.”
“Elton and I could not think of a better collaborator than R.J. Cutler for a film that represents more than just Elton’s career — it’s his life,” Furnish added. “From the Troubadour to Dodger Stadium, we knew that R.J. would help guide Elton’s story and its many layers in a way that feels authentic and evocative. We’re ecstatic to be working together.”
Cutler and Furnish will produce respectively through This Machine Filmworks and Rocket Entertainment, the latter of which is the production company founded by Furnish and John. Trevor Smith is also producer with John Battsek, Jane Cha Cutler and Elise Pearlstein as executive producers. Submarine’s Josh Braun negotiated the deal with Disney.
The deal was first reported by Deadline.