Rocketman star Taron Egerton has said he is “crestfallen” that gay scenes have been cut from the Sir Elton John biopic in which he stars in Russia.
The move by the local distributor of the film has already been condemned by the singing superstar, who described the decision to cut footage as a “sad reflection of the divided world we still live in”.
Egerton, who has won praise for his portrayal of Sir Elton in the film, wrote on Instagram: “I am crestfallen that the decision was made to censor our movie for the Russian market.
“I’m even more disappointed to hear about it second hand today on the day of our domestic release.
“I in no way condone this decision and feel disappointed I wasn’t made aware and given the chance to fight this move.
“Love is love. No compromises.”
He also added a rainbow emoji, which is a symbol of LGBT pride.
Critics in Russia claimed that scenes depicting sexual acts and kissing between men had been removed.
The pop star has history with Russia, warning about threats to gay rights in the nation, and receiving a call from Vladimir Putin.
Sir Elton and the Rocketman filmmakers said: “We reject in the strongest possible terms the decision to pander to local laws and censor Rocketman for the Russian market, a move we were unaware of until today.
“Paramount Pictures have been brave and bold partners in allowing us to create a film which is a true representation of Elton’s extraordinary life, warts and all.
“That the local distributor has edited out certain scenes, denying the audience the opportunity to see the film as it was intended is a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people.
“We believe in building bridges and open dialogue, and will continue to push for the breaking down of barriers until all people are heard equally across the world.”
Russian film critic Anton Dolin posted on Facebook regarding the film: “All scenes of kisses, sex and oral sex between men have been cut.
“From the movie took only minutes 5, but it’s very noticeable. It’s about a principled five minutes, very important for artistic purpose.”