Elton John Turned Down Classic Movie Role


“Welcome to a movie about Meat Loaf and Gary Busey,” said MC Denis Leary at last night’s Tribeca Film Festival opening gala.

Before the huge outdoor crowd started suicidally leaping into the water, he corrected, “Kidding. It’s about Elton John and Leon Russell.”


We were indeed there to see The Union, Cameron Crowe‘s easygoing documentary about the musical reunion of those two biggies, from which I learned some interesting things about Sir John, I mean Sir Elton, I mean Sir Elton John.

Among the tidbits:

*He feels Michel Jackson‘s mistake was in thinking he could outsell Thriller.

*Elton was offered the male lead in Harold and Maude way back in the ’70s, but he had to turn it down rather than slow the momentum of his burgeoning music career.

*He knows his albums sell progressively less, but he won’t do the soul, Motown, and Christmas albums he’s always pressured to do because he’s not that kind of artist — “and I wouldn’t enjoy it.”

There’s also a lot of mutual admiration going on in the film between old pals Elton and Leon, plus drop-ins from an appreciative Stevie Nicks and a weird Brian Wilson.

Elton was set to perform live for us right after the screening, but I couldn’t stay, figuring, “I’ll just catch him at Rush Limbaugh‘s next wedding.”

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 21, 2011

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