New Focus Features CEO Peter Schlessel is making Rocketman a priority as he takes over the reins of the specialty division.
Starring Tom Hardy as Elton, the Rocket Pictures biopic is the first FilmDistrict title that Schlessel is bringing with him and slotting on Focus' slate. FilmDistrict, the distribution entity co-founded by Schlessel, ponied up a hearty $10 million this summer for U.S. rights to Rocketman, which Elton is executive producing.
Under the rule of longtime Focus CEO James Schamus, Focus was more art house oriented. FilmDistrict had a more diverse slate, and Rocketman indicates the company won't shy away from bigger releases.
"I've spent a lot of time with Tom already and we get on like a house on fire. We are very much alike - you wouldn't think so and certainly not physically. I wanted a serious actor and I'm so thrilled he is doing it," he said.
"I didn't want it to be a flippant film. It's based on fact but there is a lot of fiction in it because I don't want just the usual biopic and my life has been so surreal."