Donatella Versace helped Richard Madden prepare for Rocketman role

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 25 April 2019
Richard Madden

Richard Madden

Richard Madden plays Sir Elton John's manager and former lover John Reid in the upcoming biopic 'Rocketman' and revealed he spoke with Donatella Versace to prepare for his role

Richard Madden spoke to Donatella Versace to prepare for his role as John Reid in 'Rocketman'.

The 32-year-old actor plays Elton John's manager and one-time lover in the upcoming biopic and admitted he had to "rely on stories" to discover information about John -as he was "always in the background".

The 'Bodyguard' star recalled an anecdote told to him by the iconic designer in which Reid, 69, was made to arrange a trip for four homeless people Elton had taken a shine to and decided he wanted to perform with.

In an interview with Deadline, Madden said: "It was quite difficult playing him because he was always in the background of Elton's life so he's not the guy that does interviews. I had to rely on stories to find out about him, which was a kind of really fun interesting way of finding out about him especially kind of interesting the people in the public eye who I've met who had stories about him and were close to him. I remember chatting to Donatella Versace about one evening that Elton had gone out with his guitar in France somewhere and picked up about four different homeless people that he wanted to go on stage with him the next night.

"John had to arrange the flights and book the hotels of these four different homeless people that he'd met on the street and got them up on the street the next day to perform with Elton and did it all.

"So I kind of got to find out all these fascinating anecdotes about this man both good and bad and there's a mix of both because he's quite an interesting character.

"That was the gift of this that you can't find so much about him so I had to rely on talking to people and full out the elements that we needed to fit this kind of fictional fantasy film that we're doing."

'Rocketman' has been directed by Dexter Fletcher and stars Taron Egerton as the legendary musician in the story of how he conquered the world with his songs.

The film will be released in the UK on May 22 and in the US on May 31.


  • 3 stars
  • 2019
  • UK / US
  • 2h 1min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Dexter Fletcher
  • Cast: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, Bryce Dallas Howard
  • UK release: 24 May 2019

This Elton John biopic, exec-produced by its subject, could have been a vanity project, but it’s a fun and cute fantasy musical; Egerton as John as exuberant and sympathetic, and the framing device is sensible. Hardly revelatory, but Fletcher does a good job and sprinkles some inventiveness. Classic songbook helps.