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Tom Hardy to play Sir Elton John in Rocketman biopic

Briton lives up to his reputation as the most versatile actor in Hollywood

As the villain Bane he was the epitome of gothic menace in the final instalment of Christopher Nolan’s brooding Batman trilogy, and had cinema audiences cowering behind their seats.

And now, befitting his reputation as the most versatile actor on the Hollywood block, Tom Hardy is due to play the polar opposite when he dons Elton John’s rocketman outfits in a biopic of the flamboyant star.

The film will follow the singer’s journey from piano prodigy to global superstar and counts Sir Elton’s partner David Furnish among its producers. It is based on a screenplay by the writer of War Horse, Lee Hall.

Michael Gracey, the man behind a series of US TV adverts and a Jim Henson biopic called The Muppet Man is set to direct the tale of the man born Reg Dwight, but now known by millions as just Sir Elton. The film will be radically different to the last mainstream film charting a star’s life. Bob Dylan had a total of six actors interpret different aspects of his life, including one woman – Cate Blanchett – in 2007's I'm Not There.

“Tom is quickly becoming known as one of the world’s most versatile actors, and like others at the top of their craft, he has proven his ability to transform himself completely into the character or subject found in the material,” Peter Schlessel, the head of Universal and co-executive producer, told Variety.

He added: “We are confident that Tom will embody the physicality and spirit of Sir Elton. This, in conjunction with the creative team led by Michael and Rocket Pictures, will provide the foundation for something that will be a unique cinematic event.”

After the Hardy’s break out role in the The Dark Knight Rises he will next be seen in Steve Knight’s Locke and in the rebooted Mad Max franchise.