Tom Hardy to Play Elton John in ‘Rocketman’; Focus to Distribute in U.S.

Michael Gracey is directing from an original screenplay by Oscar-nominated writer Lee Hall (“War Horse”)

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Tom Hardy has agreed to play Elton John in Rocket Pictures’ “Rocketman,” which will be distributed in the U.S. by Focus Features, the film’s producers announced today.

Michael Gracey is directing from an original screenplay by Oscar nominee Lee Hall (“War Horse”). Production will begin in fall 2014.

The Hardy deal caps a lengthy search to cast the role of Elton in the movie, which will be co-financed by AI Film.

Also Read: Toronto: Tom Hardy Thriller ‘Locke’ Goes to A24

Much like the man himself, “Rocketman” is described as a larger-than-life movie musical spectacle that tells the story of a child prodigy turned music legend. John will re-record many of his iconic hits to parallel the emotional beats of the film.

Incoming Focus CEO Peter Schlessel brought “Rocketman” from FilmDistrict to Focus Features.

“Rocketman” is produced by Steve Hamilton Shaw and David Furnish of Rocket Pictures and Lawrence Bender on behalf of AI Film, the film production and financing company created out of the acquisition of Icon by Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries. Sir Elton John and Blavatnik will executive produce along with AI Film CEO Aviv Giladi and Schlessel.

UTA Independent Film Group arranged financing for the project and negotiated the project’s sale to FilmDistrict.  Good Universe is handling international sales.

Also Read: Oscar Songs: Elton John on Gnomes, Lost Songs and His ‘Dream Guy’ Justin Timberlake

“Tom is a stellar talent who will add extraordinary depth and nuance in bringing Elton’s story to life,” said Shaw.  “We are excited to have such a gifted actor on board, and equally excited to be in the hands of Peter Schlessel and the entire Focus Features team.”

“Tom is quickly becoming known as one of the world’s most versatile actors, and like others at the top of their craft, he has proven his ability to transform himself completely into the character or subject found in the material,” said Schlessel. “We are confident that Tom will embody the physicality and spirit of Sir Elton. This, in conjunction with the creative team led by Michael and Rocket Pictures, will provide the foundation for something that will be a unique cinematic event.”

British actor Hardy will next be seen in Steven Knight’s “Locke” and George Miller’s reboot of the “Mad Max” franchise. He recently wrapped Daniel Espinosa’s thriller “Child 44” and Michael Roskam’s crime drama “Animal Rescue.” He is represented by CAA, Lindy King at United Agents and attorney Jason Sloane.