Five Favorite Films with Elton John
The legendary star also chats about Gnomeo and Juliet and his music.
In the pantheon of popular music, few artists have been as celebrated and enduring as Sir Elton John. The Grammy/Oscar/Tony winner is also a Kennedy Center honoree, a Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer, and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. And, with lyricist Bernie Taupin, John has crafted some of pop's most iconic ? and best-selling ? music. However, John is hardly one to rest on his laurels; he still plays scores of concerts each year, and a long-gestating passion project, the animated comedy Gnomeo and Juliet
, finally hits theaters Friday.
Executive-produced by John, Gnomeo
is a retelling of Shakespeare's classic tale with garden gnomes, and features some of his biggest singles ("Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting," "Don't Go Breaking My Heart," "Rocket Man," among others) along with "Hello, Hello," a duet with Lady Gaga. In an interview with Rotten Tomatoes, Sir Elton shared his favorite films, and discussed the making of Gnomeo
and why it's still a thrill for him to hear his old songs.
Godfather II. Just riveting. It's just incredible. At that time, there weren't usually sequels to films, and when they did Godfather II, when they said they were going to do Godfather II, I groaned. And, of course, it was better, I think, than Godfather I. I think it's an amazing, amazing piece of filmmaking. He was an amazing director, Coppola.
All About Eve, because I just think the dialogue in that film is incredible and so brilliant, and I never get fed up with watching it. It's just brilliantly acted; it's b----iness at its best.
The Exorcist, because it frightened the s--- out of me. I remember going to see it in London - I went with a friend - and I said, "Well, that wasn't too bad after all, was it?" And we both said, "Well, I don't want to go home quite yet." So we went out for a meal. That is an incredible movie.
Let me choose a comedy. Let me choose Blazing Saddles, because I just thought, at the time when that came out, it was just so ahead of its time. I mean, you couldn't get away with that now. There's no f---ing way you could get away with it.
Next, John talks about working on Gnomeo and Juliet, and what it's like to hear his music everywhere.
The Lives of Others would go in there. It's just an amazing movie. And then he went and did The Tourist, which, I think, got a 20 percent rating on your site. We look at your website quite a lot. But, [The Lives of Others] was just a beautiful film.
So many great movies coming out of Germany, like... Well, The Reader was a Stephen Daldry film, but it was all about coming to terms with their past. And also, Downfall was as well. God, I could continue forever because I love movies.
RT: I wanted to ask you about that. You have songs like "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," "All Quiet on the Western Front," and the album titled "Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player." How much has cinema informed your songwriting?
I think you'd have to ask Bernie [Taupin] that, because I don't write lyrics. But I think it's obviously quite a lot. I mean, he's written songs like "Roy Rogers." I mean, we grew up in Britain, and the only good music to listen to was American; the only good films really, mostly - not all of them, but most of the films that we loved - were American. And so you become very romantic about America, and I think it has to influence what you write if you're a lyric writer. And Bernie's obsessed with Americana. Listen, I can sit here and probably name a hundred movies that I like, but you asked me off the top of my head. You a------! [laughs] But I think those five... It's always nice to put a comedy in the mix because they never get nominated, do they?