Dave Karger
September 30, 2011 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Thirty-six years after making his film debut in the rock opera Tommy, music icon Elton John is now prepping a biopic on his own rise to stardom. Rocketman, written by his Billy Elliot collaborator Lee Hall, will document the 64-year-old Brit’s phenomenal success in the 1970s, his battles with drugs and alcohol in the 1980s, and ultimately his search for stability in the 1990s. But Sir Elton’s spouse and production partner, David Furnish, says Rocketman won’t be a traditional biopic like Ray (Ray Charles) or Walk the Line (Johnny Cash). ”It’s going to be told from much more of a fantastical standpoint,” he says. ”The storytelling won’t be linear — it will go back and forth in time. It’ll be Elton’s life reimagined as how he might like to remember it, rather than how it really happened.” While Furnish and John search for a director (possible contenders include pals like Baz Luhrmann or Stephen Daldry), they’ll also have to find an actor who can embody the pop star over several decades. One name that’s already cropped up: James McAvoy. ”He’s a good candidate!” Furnish says. ”We worked with James on Gnomeo & Juliet, and he was lovely, so anything’s possible.” Like hiring several actors, for instance. ”I know Elton feels that physically he’s changed a lot over the years. So he’s said, ‘Maybe it’s more than one person playing me, like the Bob Dylan film [I’m Not There].”’ Whatever the case, there’s no denying that it’s a life story with more than its fair share of drama. Says Furnish, ”We want the film to be big and brash and full of life and entertaining…like Elton.”

You May Like