Musical biopics have been stale for years, or at least since whenever Walk Hard came out and eviscerated the entire genre. But every now and then, a biopic comes along that somehow manages to dodge all the usual clichés and do something fresh. Blaze was brilliant, Jack Black's Polka King was criminally underrated, and from the look of the first trailer for the upcoming Elton John biopic, it might just be able to breathe some new life into the tired genre, too.
Paramount debuted the first trailer for Rocketman—not to be confused with that 1997 movie of the same name about farting in space—on Monday morning, and it looks as over-the-top and goddamn bonkers as a movie about Elton John should be.
The minute-long trailer, starring Kingsman's Taron Egerton as John, follows the glam star in the early 1970s as he gears up to release his breakthrough album, Honky Chateau.
"There are moments in a rock star’s life that define who he is," the trailer's narrator says. "Where there was darkness there is no you, and it’s going to be a wild ride."
Rocketman is directed by Dexter Fletcher, who is also helming that upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic, and the trailers for both hit the usual rock 'n' roll biopic beats—concert and studio footage, fabulous parties, and a shot of John on a stretcher to hint at that inevitable dark turn in the end of the second act or whatever. But Rocketman looks interesting because it doesn't just stop there. It also adds some kind of weird, surreal element, with a young Elton John running through what looks like a musical dance number and, later in the trailer, literally flying into the air as he plays the film's titular song on stage.
"[Rocketman is] a musical fantasy, not a biopic," Fletcher recently said in an interview. "We have Elton's songs and Elton's life story, or a part of it. And it is a fantasy version of real life. It is a true fantasy."
It's unclear exactly what that means for the movie as a whole, but from the look of the trailer, it seems promising, at least. What others kind of bonkers stuff does the film have up its sleeve? Will we get to see Taron Egerton sing a duet with an actual crocodile? We'll have to wait until the movie hits theaters next May to find out. Until then, give the trailer a watch above.
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.