Elton John has publicly hit out following his biopic Rocketman being heavily edited in
Also cut out in the edited version is a caption and photograph at the end referring to Elton living with his husband David Furnish and raising their two sons, Zachary and Elijah,.
The musical sensation, 72, released a statement following Russian film critic Anton Dolin sharing how the feature film had been altered in Russia – after he attended a preview.
Hitting back: Elton John, 72, has publicly hit out following his biopic Rocketman being heavily edited in Russia to remove any scenes of kissing and sex between men in the film
A joint statement from Elton and the filmmakers read: ‘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.’
Unhappy: Also proving his disappointment at the editing, Taron Egerton, 29, who plays Elton in the biopic, shared his dismay at the Russian censorship in the film
Also proving his disappointment at the editing, Taron Egerton, who portrays Elton in the biopic, took to Instagram to air his opinion.
The actor, 29, typed: ‘I am crestfallen that the decision was made to censor our movie for the Russian market.
He continued: ‘I’m even more disappointed to hear about it second hand today on the day of our domestic release.’
Statement: The actor took to Instagram to share a statement with his fans
Disappointed: The star typed: ‘I am crestfallen that the decision was made to censor our movie for the Russian market’ (pictured on the set of Rocketman)
‘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.’
Russian journalist Anthon shared that around five minutes of the film has been chopped as a result of so-called ‘anti-gay propaganda’ laws in Conservative Russia which bans gay sex scenes in cinema since 2013.
Dolin described the cut as ‘nasty’ and added ‘Sorry, Sir Elton’, in a social media post about the deleted scenes.
Cnesorship: Elton and Taron’s statements come after Russian film critic Anton Dolin shared that the film had been edited of any scenes of men kissing or having sex after he saw a preview in Russia
He posted on Facebook: ‘All scenes with kissing, sex and oral sex between men have been cut out.
‘The most nasty thing is that the final caption has been removed from the finale.
‘The movie took only five minutes out, but it’s very noticeable. It’s about a principled five minutes, very important for artistic purposes.’
Dolin also alleges that Paramount studio representatives were present at the edited premier screening in Russia yesterday.
According to The Moscow Times, The Russian Culture Ministry did not order the scenes to be cut and instead the movie was edited by the distributor Central Partnership to comply with Russian laws.
A spokesman from the Central Partnership told the paper: ‘Changes were made to the film to comply with the legislation of the Russian Federation.’
Film critic Yegor Moskvitin, who had seen the original Rocketman at the Cannes Film Festival, told the Moscow Times: ‘Several scenes had indeed disappeared from the Russian version.’
Elton John has himself said the studio wanted to tone down the sex and drugs in the movie but he wanted the biopic to be an accurate representation of his early life.
In an article for the Guardian, he wrote: ‘Some studios wanted to tone down the sex and drugs so the film would get a PG-13 rating. But I just haven’t led a PG-13 rated life.’
In the past Elton John offered to meet with Vladimir Putin to discuss LGBT rights after pranksters called him pretending to be the Russian president, but the meeting has yet to take place.
Elton John with David Furnish and Taron Egerton (far left), who plays the musician in the Rocketman biopic. References to Elton and David’s marriage and their children were reportedly censored from the Russian version of the film