The son of the late music publisher Dick James is firing back after seeing the way his father is portrayed in Rocketman.
Stephen James called out Elton in an Express interview, saying the depiction of his music publisher father amounted to a "character assassination."
"He's basically a coward," Stephen said. "He's never been able to express his emotions properly, certainly not to me. I don't understand why he seems to feel the need to try to destroy everybody who helped him. We only ever tried to do the best for him and promote his career. I really am very upset that he has turned on people in this way."
He says Rocketman's portrayal of his dad as a stereotypical, old-fashioned, thug-like music executive came out of nowhere and is the opposite of the kind, polite and patient man Dick was.
"It's rather upset me because my father was a nice guy," Stephen commented. "Elton's own father had run off and wasn't around. He treated my father at the time as very much a father figure, and my father treated Elton very much as if he was a son. He gave him advice. He was always helping him. My father would always be there."
Stephen Graham plays Dick James in the film, which opens today in the U.S.
Meanwhile overseas, Rocketman has been edited to comply with Russian legislation prior to its Russian release, a spokesperson for the Central Partnership company, the movie’s distributor, told TASS.
"Indeed, the movie has been modified to make it comply with Russian law," she said.
The spokesperson added that the picture would be released in Russia on June 6.
The country’s Culture Ministry, in turn, provided a statement.
It reads: "The Russian Culture Ministry issued no recommendations concerning the removal of any scenes from the said movie, the decision was made solely by the distributor."