Black Bird’s Taron Egerton on hanging out with Britney Spears

Taron Egerton knows fame — especially after the attention he received for his award-winning work as Elton John in 2019’s Rocketman. But Egerton has never felt as popular as it did on July 23, when Britney Spears posted videos of them together in London on her Instagram profile.

“I felt very, very, very famous for a second,” Egerton tells me on this week’s Just for diversitypodcast and credits her “passionate fans” for all the love and attention.

The video – which Spears called “Coolest Dude Ever!!!” What a bloody fan!” – was taken at a mutual friend’s dinner party. “She was very, very, very beautiful,” says the actor, explaining that he’s been a fan of the pop star since day one. “I was just the right age to get carried away by this mania,” he says, adding, “It’s a stunner.”

I spoke to Egerton via Zoom from Greece where he was vacationing with his family. He didn’t mind taking a holiday break to promote his latest Apple TV+ project, Black Bird. Inspired by true events, the series stars Egerton as Jimmy Keene, a drug dealer who is sentenced to 10 years in prison. However, prosecutors offer to have his sentence commuted if he agrees to be sent to a maximum-security prison to trick a serial killer (Paul Walter Hauser) into revealing the location of the bodies of women he allegedly killed. The eight-episode series, which airs August 5, opens with depictions of Jimmy’s mafia-esque life of women, sex, drugs and debauchery.

Ray Liotta plays Egerton’s father in one of his last roles before his death in May.

I mention to Egerton that I grew up in Howard Beach, the same neighborhood in Queens where the late mob boss John Gotti lived. “I, like a lot of young men, fell in love with these kinds of stories, these typically Italian-American stories that glorify a life of crime,” says Egerton. “Doing the show, and of course Ray’s involvement … it felt a little bit like living something of a fantasy.”

This fantasy included getting himself in tip-top shape before stripping down for a sex scene that highlights his bare bottom. “I trained a lot,” explains Egerton. “I mean, Jimmy is in good shape as a man in his 50s, but as a man in his early 30s, he was in phenomenal shape.”

Egerton gushes about working with Hauser, whose creepy, childlike voice on the show is what nightmares are made of. “We had a great time working together,” says Egerton. “I feel like we have this great kind of odd couple, weird chemistry as hell. It has moments of fun and lightness, but obviously all in the context of the darkest things imaginable.

Perhaps something lighter – a reboot of The Odd Couple – could lie in the duo’s future? “I’d love to work with him where we don’t feel like we need a shower after every scene,” says Egerton.

Egerton made headlines in April when he pulled out of a West End production of “Cock” starring Jonathan Bailey (“Bridgerton”). Though he politely declines to go into the details, he previously revealed that a close family member was battling cancer. “I think it’s really important that I get back on horseback sooner rather than later,” says Egerton of returning to the stage.

His dream project is “Sweeney Todd”. “Right now I’m too young and not rugged enough, but I could probably do it by 40,” explains the 32-year-old actor, adding, “Nobody’s going to buy me as Sweeney. I must have accumulated enough years to be so jaded and bitter.”

He will probably sing again in “Sing 3”. Although Universal Pictures has yet to officially announce a third installment in the Illumination animated musical franchise, Egerton believes it will. “It would be fun to have Elton there,” he says. “I’m sure he would love to.”

You can listen to the full interview with Egerton above. There you will also find “Only for diversity” anywhere you download your favorite podcasts. Black Bird’s Taron Egerton on hanging out with Britney Spears

Charles Jones

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