Eminem, Lewis Hamilton, Kristin Scott Thomas and more ask Elton John everything they’ve always wanted to know about him
On a Thursday morning in his Toronto hotel room, Elton John is in high spirits. He is 12 months into a three-year farewell tour that has sold out arenas and sports stadiums around the world, and earned some of the most rapturous reviews of his 50-year career. “The last time I had notices like this I had a full head of hair and the writer had to spend half the review explaining who I was,” is how he puts it. His musical biopic Rocketman has grossed nearly $200m at the box office. And he’s about to publish his autobiography, Me.
Full disclosure: I spent three and half years working with John on the book. I was both delighted and impossibly flattered to be asked, but work on it got off to a deeply peculiar start. The first interviews took place on the set of Kingsman: The Golden Circle, in which he had a cameo role that involved wearing one of his old stage costumes. Thus, I enjoyed the disconcerting experience of interviewing Elton John while he was dressed as Elton John in 1974: an outfit entirely made up of multicoloured marabou feathers, a headdress covered in jewels and mirrored glass, and a pair of silver platform boots with ELTON written on them in giant red letters. “Of course I can walk in them,” he frowned, when I mentioned the latter. “Listen, I’ve jumped off pianos in bigger platforms than these. It’s like riding a bike – you don’t forget.”