Speaking to the gay magazine Attitude, Taron, who is straight, admitted he “understands” why people – in particular his LGBTQ+ peers – would be upset or frustrated with him for taking on the role of Sir Elton in the new film Rocketman.
He said: “It’s easy for me to sit here as a white, heterosexual man and say I should be able to play a part I want.
“But I completely understand why a gay actor would feel that this is an opportunity for which they would be better suited.”
By way of justification, Taron pointed out that he was chosen personally by the award-winning star to play him in the film, explaining: “The way I feel about it is that Elton asked me to play him in a movie about his life. I am proud and privileged to be playing this person who happens to be gay.
“I want to live in a world where people are excited about playing people who are different from themselves. I believe that there is something inclusive and progressive about that.”
In the film, Taron stars opposite Bodyguard actor Richard Madden, who plays Sir Elton’s former manager and love interest John Reid.
“We shot a scene where we are both naked on a bed and we are rolling around. I don’t really know how much further we could have gone,” Taron revealed.
“In the script, this is the scene of Elton losing his virginity and we wanted to try to do that justice.
“We wanted to play it like two guys in their early 20s who are falling in love and who are incredibly sexually attracted to each other.”
Rami Malek faced a similar controversy when it was announced that he would play Freddie Mercury in the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, a backlash which was heightened when some felt that the iconic frontman’s sexual identity had been overlooked.
Earlier this year, Rami was awarded Best Actor at the Oscars for his portrayal of Freddie, becoming the first Arab-American to be awarded this distinction.
Read Taron’s full interview in the new issue of Attitude magazine.