Sir Elton John. Picture: Getty
Sir Elton John. Picture: Getty

Ugly rift we never saw in Rocketman

It's the stunning feud that didn't make the cut in Rocketman.

Elton John's blockbuster biopic, starring Taron Egerton in the titular role, was released in May and was dubbed an honest and transparent tribute to the English star's rock and roll life.

It was also the first major Hollywood production to feature a gay male sex scene.

But there was one big rift in Sir Elton's story that didn't play out on the big screen.

Over the years it has been widely reported Sir Elton, 72, and his mother Sheila Farebrother were not on speaking terms for almost a decade, starting from 2008.

While Rocketman, which is now available to stream on Foxtel, does dramatise their rift, it doesn't refer to the person who was reportedly the reason for their falling out.

Sheila has claimed things turned bitter between them over Sir Elton's former personal assistant and chauffeur, Bob Halley, who became very close with Sheila over the years.

Elton John and his late mother, Sheila Farebrother.
Elton John and his late mother, Sheila Farebrother.

Sheila, who died in December 2017, has previously said her son asked her to "drop" Halley when he left Sir Elton's inner circle after 30 years in 2008, but she refused as he was "like a son", according to The Sun.

In 2015 Sheila said of their row: "He told me I thought more of Bob Halley than I did of my own son. I said to him, 'And you think more of that f***ing thing you married than your own mother'."

Sheila was referring to Sir Elton's long-term partner, David Furnish, whom he had been with since 1993. They entered into a civil partnership in 2005; one of the first couples to do so in the UK.

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Sheila's shocking comments triggered a war of words between the pair for many years.

She believed Furnish was to blame for axing Halley and Sir Elton's ex-manager John Reid, but Sir Elton's friends claim Halley quit on his own terms.

The singer later said of his mother: "I don't hate her, but I don't want her in my life."

Their relationship hit rock bottom when Sheila and Halley hired an Elton John tribute act for her 90th birthday, with Sir Elton not in attendance.

Halley and Sheila were still close up until her death at the end of 2017, with Halley posting a heartfelt tribute about her on Twitter, referring to her as "my love always".

While Sir Elton and his mother mended their relationship six months before her death, with Sir Elton wishing her a happy Mother's Day on Twitter that May, Sheila gave half of her handsome fortune to Halley, leaving Sir Elton with two urns and some photos.

Halley was given £534,000 ($A971,600) after Sheila altered her will only three weeks before her death.

Sir Elton, his husband and their two children were left no money, but it certainly wouldn't have affected them financially, with the megastar worth a whopping £320 million ($A582.31 million).

EGERTON SANG FOR REAL

We bet you had no idea Egerton actually sang for real in the movie.

It was assumed he was lip-synching during the entirety of the film, but the actor said in an interview "every note" was actually him.

It turns out his singing ability also helped him secure the role.

Taron Egerton as Elton John in Rocketman from Paramount Pictures.
Taron Egerton as Elton John in Rocketman from Paramount Pictures.

The animated film Sing was released in 2016 in which Egerton had to sing a cover of Sir Elton's smash I'm Still Standing. Talks had already started before that, but Egerton said he thought that performance "sealed the deal". 

Director Dexter Fletcher revealed Sir Elton gave Egerton the tick of approval.

"Elton decided he wanted Taron to play him and said, 'I don't think I've ever heard anyone sing my songs better than Taron'."

RAMI MALEK'S ALMOST CAMEO

Bohemian Rhapsody has been the big movie of 2019 in terms of commercial and critical praise, largely aimed at its main star Rami Malek, who portrayed Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.

And it turns out Malek almost made a cameo as Mercury in Rocketman.

Malek told news.com.au in June both he and Egerton wanted to make it happen.

"It was such a shame," Malek said.

"I would have loved to do it. Taron and I talked about it, we had multiple discussions with Dexter (Fletcher, who directed both biopics: Rocketman and Bohemian Rhapsody), and we really tried to make it happen."

Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in Twentieth Century Fox's Bohemian Rhapsody. Picture: Alex Bailey
Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in Twentieth Century Fox's Bohemian Rhapsody. Picture: Alex Bailey

"I don't think there was a chance in hell that (20th Century) Fox would have let me do it."

There was some discussion of including a scene in Rocketman in which Elton would be dining in a restaurant with his mother while his manager, Reid, also Queen's manager at the time, was having lunch with Mercury at a nearby table.

"There were other ideas thrown about because both Elton and Freddie spent quite a bit of time together. In fact, they'd challenge each other on who could throw the most extravagant party," Malek added.

"The script would have had to be altered and would have taken some ingenuity that we didn't have at that moment because we were doing reshoots of Bohemian at the time."



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