Wales

Rocketman star Taron Egerton credits Wales with love of singing

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Media captionTaron Egerton says friends in Aberystwyth are "proud and protective" but keen not to "over-fluff" him

Rocketman actor Taron Egerton has said his Welsh upbringing made him "fall in love" with singing.

Egerton played Sir Elton John in the biopic and performed all of the songs that featured in the film.

The actor, whose performance has earned its soundtrack a Grammy nomination, credited his childhood in Aberystwyth with encouraging his talents.

He also told BBC Wales the suggestion he could be nominated for an Oscar was an "incredible thought".

In the film, Egerton portrays Sir Elton's transformation from being a young, shy piano prodigy to becoming an international star.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption "Singing with Sir Elton John has been extraordinary"

He said it was a "wonderful thing" to take on the role, "especially if you are someone who loves singing".

"It is obviously a huge part of the cultural heritage of Wales," he said.

"And a big part of my falling in love with singing is because of my upbringing in Wales."

Born in Birkenhead, Merseyside, Egerton went to primary school on Anglesey before moving to Aberystwyth when he was 12 and now regards as home.

"It's just somewhere that I associate with being incredibly happy and having incredible good times. It's my home, I can't really put it any more simply than that," he said.

Image copyright Paramount
Image caption Sir Elton and Egerton performing together in Cannes, earlier this year

"It also feels really fantastic that [singing] has been something that has grown to be part of what has characterised my life as an actor, particularly recently with Rocketman and earlier with Sing, the animated movie that I did."

He spoke to BBC Wales News on the same evening as an appearance at a Bafta event in London, and was set to visit family in Wales after months of work.

He says his friends in the Ceredigion seaside town are "proud" of him, but not too much.

"I think they're proud but I don't think they're enamoured in an unhealthy way," he said.

"They're wonderful, they're normal Welsh lads... they're also very keen not to over-fluff me."

As part of the global promotional tour since the film's release in May, Egerton has appeared on stage with Sir Elton - whom he now counts as a friend - to perform hits including Rocket Man and Your Song.

"Singing with him has been really, really extraordinary, and I feel like I have grown while I've been doing it," he explained.

"The first time I did it I was just so nervous. But it went well, it was really fun, and I really enjoyed myself despite the nerves.

Image copyright David Appleby/Paramount
Image caption Taron Egerton as Sir Elton John, including a gap in his front teeth added using post-production technology

Egerton said his only demand when he took on the role was that the singer's famous gapped teeth would be a feature of his appearance, despite the cost of using post-production technology to create this distinctive look.

"The options are limited for what will make that work. If you have false teeth it inhibits your speech and also your singing, and we didn't want to do that."

Egerton was on holiday with his partner - film assistant director Emily Thomas - when the Grammy nominations were announced in November.

"Emily turned to me and said, 'You've been nominated for a Grammy'. I honestly thought it was a joke," he said.

Overall, the critical response has been positive and there has also been some industry buzz about a potential Oscar nomination.

"You've got to be practical," Egerton said. "It is lovely that anyone would ever think that, or watch the movie and feel that you deserve to be a part of that conversation... But it's not why you do it."

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