Playing Elton John’s mother, Sheila Dwight was not an easy role to take on for Bryce Dallas Howard. Coming into the film very late, she had very little time to prepare for the role. The film is not your normal biopic and has critics raving over the film.
One of the hardest scenes Bryce filmed was the moment Elton John came out and told his mother he was gay. Sheila’s response was simply telling her son he was destined to live a sad and lonely life.
Elton John’s biopic Rocketman features a heartbreaking scene between Taron Egerton’s Elton and his late mother Sheila, during which he comes out as gay during a palpably tense phone call in a London phone box before his performance at the Royal Albert Hall.
At this point, Elton’s life is disintegrating due to drug and alcohol abuse, and he’s seeking support and reassurance from his mother – despite insistences from his self-interested manager and lover John Reid (played by Richard Madden) not to.
Sheila – played by Bryce Dallas Howard – responds by saying she knows, but he’ll end up living a lonely, loveless life as a gay man, which visibly destroys him.
Speaking about filming that excruciatingly callous scene, and how she got to know what Sheila was like as a person, Bryce told Cosmopolitan UK, “It was really important to talk to people who were not affiliated with this movie who knew Sheila, and to understand what was going on and what led to this dynamic between them.
“She was very charismatic, wickedly brilliantly hilarious and cutting also, took all of the air out of of the room, she sucked it out and it was this thing where she had a personality that could be fun in certain circumstances but then it would turn.
“I think with the coming out scene – other scenes felt a little delicious to play as Sheila – but not this scene. We did it very quickly. We didn’t want to live there.”
The Jurassic World star also revealed that she reached out to friends who generously shared their experiences of coming out with her.Cosmopolitan
“In order to understand that, I talked with a number of my friends who had been through that process themselves, and I wanted to know what specifically about it hurt them,” she continued.
“Was it their [family’s] tone, was it the pause, was it what they said? And Sheila got it wrong.”