The new Elton John musical biopic “Rocketman” is facing censorship in Russia.
According to The Guardian, the Russian distributor for the film has cut a sex scene from the film, along with scenes featuring men kissing, citing the country’s laws against “homosexual propaganda.”
“All scenes with kissing, sex and oral sex between men have been cut out… the nastiest part is that the final caption has been removed from the finale,” Russian film critic Anton Dolin wrote in a post on Facebook, adding, “Sorry, Sir Elton.”
In an article he wrote for The Guardian last week, John said of the film’s content, “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 Dolin, as much as five minutes had been cut from the film, noting that some scenes featuring drug use had also been censored.
John and the filmmakers addressed the Russian censorship in a joint statement to ET Canada. “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,” the statement read.
“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,” the statement continued. “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.”
Star Taron Egerton also had something to say about the censorship, taking to Instagram to admit he’s “crestfallen that the decision was made to censor our movie for the Russian market,” adding, “I’m even more disappointed to hear about it second hand today on the day of our domestic release.”
He continued: “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.”