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There have been several hot music biopics released over the past few years. But few are as buzzworthy as the 2019 movie Rocketman. The film, which details music superstar Elton John’s rise to stardom and his personal struggles, starred Taron Egerton as John and included a star-studded supporting cast. Rocketman was a long time in the making. It was produced with the support and assistance of John himself. While John raved about Egerton’s work in the film, the music icon initially had a very different actor in mind to tackle the starring role. 

What role did Justin Timberlake miss out on in ‘Rocketman’?

English-born actor Taron Egerton snagged the role of Elton John in Rocketman. The role came with a considerable amount of challenges, considering how well-known John is. Although Egerton ended up fully inhabiting the role, he wasn’t the first star John had in mind to play him. In a May 2019 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, John’s husband and Rocketman producer David Furnish admitted Justin Timberlake took that spot.

John and Timberlake had worked together before. Timberlake starred in the 2001 music video for John’s song This Train Don’t Stop There Anymore. “We never formally approached Justin because we weren’t ever at a stage where it was the right time to approach him,” Furnish said. “But he did an amazing job in the video. He put on a prosthetic nose, and it turned out to have been some really interesting acting work as well.”

‘Rocketman’ received numerous awards and nominations

Timberlake isn’t the only star who was considered to play the role of John. The Hollywood Reporter notes that Tom Hardy was in talks to star in the film. John even admitting to a crowd at Cannes that the actor ended up dropping out of the film, clearing the way for Egerton to land the lead role. He spoke highly of Egerton’s work in Rocketman. “His performance in this film is scary brilliant,” the musician shared. “When I watch the movie, I don’t see an actor, I see myself.”

Egerton received critical acclaim for his performance in Rocketman, including a nomination for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role. He also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Fans loved the musical rendition of John’s epic life, an innovative film tribute to a true music legend. 

Justin Timberlake has acted in a number of hit movies

justin timberlake
Musician Justin Timberlake performs at the 2017 Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival on September 23, 2017 in Franklin, Tennessee. | John Shearer/Getty Images for M2M Construction

Why Elton John Didn’t Want to Sing ‘Rocket Man’ in His Dua Lipa Collaboration ‘Cold Heart’

Even if Timberlake didn’t get the role in Rocketman, the pop star has acted in a wide variety of films. Among them are The Social Network, Bad Teacher, and In Time. Timberlake focused primarily on his acting career in the early 2000s. But recent years have seen the actor prioritize voice acting. Over the past several years, Timberlake has lent his vocal talents to the Trolls film franchise.

In the live-action acting realm, Timberlake has appeared in 2017’s Wonder Wheel and the 2021 drama Palmer. Up next for Timberlake is the crime thriller Reptile, scheduled for a late 2022 release, according to IMDb. He also remains active in the music industry. And he devotes a considerable amount of time to his business dealings, including collaborations with fragrance brands and fashion lines.