Taron Egerton broke through in 2014’s surprise spy hit Kingsman: The Secret Service, but he’s earning the best reviews of his career for his performance as Sir Elton John in rollicking biopic Rocketman. As he adds a BAFTA nomination to his Golden Globe win, and the Oscar buzz continues to build, here are some things you might not know about the super-talented 30-year-old.
1. Although he was born in England, and only has one Welsh grandparent, Egerton considers himself to be Welsh “through and through.”
His family lived near Liverpool, England, when he was a small child, before moving to the Welsh island of Anglesey and then, when he was 12, the Welsh university town of Aberystwyth. Egerton is bilingual, speaking both Welsh and English, which is helpful because the Anglesey village he lived in is called Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Egerton demonstrated the correct pronunciation on The Tonight Show a few years ago.
2. The name Taron means “thunder” in Welsh… sort of.
The Welsh word for thunder is actually “taran.” “My mom is not a Welsh speaker, so she misspelled it and she put an ‘o’ instead of the second ‘a’ so now it’s Taron,” the actor told Yahoo!. “But I like it, it’s quirky.”
3. His first ever paid acting role was in a play called The Last of Hausmans at London’s National Theatre.
He was kind of thrown in at the deep end, co-starring opposite BAFTA and Golden Globe winner Dame Julie Walters.
4. He auditioned for the lead voice role in the Paddington movies after his Kingsman co-star Colin Firth dropped out.
Egerton recalled humbly: “There is never going to be an instance in the world that you’re competing against Ben Whishaw and Ben Whishaw is not going to get it.”
5. While he was staying at Sir Elton John’s house during the making of Rocketman, he was caught raiding the rock icon’s pantry at 3am.
Egerton recalled Sir Elton’s typically, um, “plain-speaking” reaction during his appearance on The Graham Norton Show last year.
6. Though he’s straight and has been dating assistant director Emily Thomas for more than two years, Egerton says he has “some understanding” of what it’s like to be gay like Sir Elton.
“When I was 14 or 15, I had a period of thinking I might be gay and I spoke to my mother about it,” Egerton told U.K. gay magazine Attitude last year. “I’m am not comparing that to living it for real, but I am saying that I guess there is a small kernel of that which I have experienced.”
7. He’s an ambassador for U.K. charity the MND Association.
As he’s shared on Twitter, Egerton has witnessed Motor Neurone Disease first-hand, having lost his grandmother to the neurodegenerative disorder.
— Taron Egerton (@TaronEgerton) December 1, 2015
8. He landed his first screen role in 2013, when he appeared in two episodes of long-running British detective drama Lewis.
He plays a young man called Jay, the last person to see a local doctor alive. It’s believed the doctor may have been murdered, and if that’s the case, possibly dying with vital information to the case.
9. He’s no fan of his 2018 action-adventure movie Robin Hood, in which he played the iconic title role opposite Jamie Foxx, Jamie Dornan, and Ben Mendelsohn.
“It was absolutely not the movie that I signed up to make,” he told Variety in November. “It was pitched to me in a different way. I think it was made by committee and I think it lost its vision. I wasn’t very happy on set. I didn’t have a very happy time making it.”
10. Oh, and Sir Elton gave Egerton his own drag name during the making of Rocketman – a real badge of honor considering Sir Elton also gave drag names to the likes of Freddie Mercury and Sir Rod Stewart.
“My drag name is Blodwyn and my surname is Campervan,” Egerton told EW. “Elton’s very keen that the stress not be on camper van. It’s on camper van, at the end.” Blodwyn was chosen because it’s the Welsh word for flower, while Campervan reflects Egerton’s fondness for traveling in an RV.
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