By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 23, 2013 at 4:25PM
Brit actor on-the-rise Tom Hardy ("The Dark Knight Rises") will channel Elton John in “Rocketman," a musical biopic for Rocket Pictures, with a planned fall 2014 shoot. And Focus Features's new chief Peter Schlessel, who picked up U.S. rights to the film for FilmDistrict in June, will release the movie through Focus.
Michael Gracey (Fox’s upcoming "The Greatest Showman on Earth" starring Hugh Jackman, and Disney's "The Muppet Man") will direct “Rocketman” from a screenplay by Lee Hall (“War Horse”) that tells the story of the child prodigy turned music legend. John is cooperating with the film's soundtrack, which will include several re-recorded songs.
Steve Hamilton Shaw and David Furnish of Rocket Pictures will produce with and Lawrence Bender on behalf of AI Film. Good Universe picked up international sales at Cannes. Sir Elton John and Len Blavatnik are executive producing, along with AI Film CEO Aviv Giladi and Schlessel.
Hardy's much in demand. Coming up are Daniel Espinosa's "Child 44" with director Daniel Espinosa, Michael Roskam's "Animal Rescue," Steve Knight’s “Locke” and George Miller and Warner Bros.' long-aborning “Mad Max” reboot.