Taron Egerton is set to lead the new AppleTV thriller, Tetris. It’s the true story behind the invention, marketing, and battle over the blockbuster video game Tetris licensing rights. Egerton plays Henk Rogers, a Dutch video game developer who joins forces with the Russian inventor of the game, Aleksei Pajitnov to wage war with the Russian authorities to get the rights to produce the gaming phenomenon and sell it to the rest of the world. It’s a compelling and harrowing tale of David vs. Goliath as Rogers goes toe-to-toe with the KGB and other influential Soviet bureaucracies to get Tetris out from behind the Iron Curtain in the 1980s. Egerton has found enormous success playing real-life people as five of the seven entries on this list are characters based on real people. With Tetris streaming on AppleTV March 31, we decided to put together some of Egerton’s best performances to date.
Elton John in ‘Rocketman’ (2019)
Egerton took on his most challenging role to date when he signed on to play legendary musician Elton John in the biopic, Rocketman. The Birkenhead, England-born actor completely transforms into the flashy singing sensation in a performance that is startlingly accurate from the troubles of John’s youth, dealing with his sexual identity, and joining forces with Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell) to create some of the most well-known songs in the history of music. When awards season came rolling by, it was Egerton who was ready to pick up BAFTA, SAG, and Golden Globe nominations for Best Lead Actor in a Movie, winning the Golden Globe statue. It is a captivating portrayal, and probably the actor’s crowning achievement to date. Interestingly, it was during the second Kingsman film that he would meet Elton John, who makes a cameo as himself, and the two became fast friends spurring John to recommend Egerton to portray him in the film. The singer had also heard Egerton’s cover of “I’m Still Standing” as the voice of Johnny the Gorilla in Sing.
Gary “Eggsy” Unwin in ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ (2014) and ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ (2017)
Colin Firth plucks petty but resourceful criminal Gary “Eggsy” Unwin off the streets and brings him into a secret society of spies in these two films that saw Egerton take on a leading role in a big-budget dramatic project. The two films combined to make an astounding $812 million worldwide and paved the way for a third entry in which Egerton chose to not reprise his role as the cagey, but relatively inexperienced spy who learns how to use his considerable skill set in the service of the clandestine Kingsman organization. Egerton holds his own with the likes of the highly respected English actor, Firth, and Samuel L. Jackson and displays James Bond-like leading man qualities just years before shouldering an enormously weighty and terrific performance in Rocketman.
Michael Edwards in ‘Eddie the Eagle’ (2015)
Egerton soared in this biographical sports retelling of Michael “Eddie the Eagle” Edwards, an athlete who represents Great Britain in the ski jumping competition in the 1988 Winter Olympics for the first time since 1928. The small-statured Egerton is a perfect fit for the unlikeliest of underdog stories that see Edwards rise to fame and become one of the Olympics’ greatest tales of overcoming the odds and making it to the biggest stage the event has to offer. Egerton is coached by Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman) in the film and shows he can be an engaging character on screen that you can’t help but root for. By the time Eddie “The Eagle” has his name announced and is preparing to jump, he has already won, regardless of where he finishes in the competition.
Jimmy Keene in ‘Black Bird’ (2022)
In another adaptation of a true story, Egerton took to the small screen on AppleTV to play mid-level drug dealer, Jimmy Keene, who gets busted and sent to jail. The FBI comes calling to see if Keene would be willing to become a confidential informant for them and get a fellow prisoner and serial child rapist and murderer, Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser) to tell him where he’s buried his victims. Egerton and Hauser both shine in this slow-burn thriller that eats away at Keene’s soul as the two get closer and Keene gets a glimpse inside the warped mind of a child killer. The 33-year-old actor gets every last bit of tension out of a story that rarely gives you time to come up for air. Tetris will be Egerton’s second project with AppleTV, and we’re hopeful it will be a worthy follow-up.
Edward “Mad Teddy” Smith in ‘Legend’ (2015)
Say what you want about Legend as a film, and whether it doesn’t fully capitalize on a tour de force performance by Tom Hardy in a dual role as Reggie and Ronnie Kray, twin brothers who seek to establish control of the criminal underworld of London in the 1960s. But Egerton steals his scenes as Teddy Smith, lover and henchman for the mentally unstable Ronnie. Whether he is the only one cackling loudly at Ronnie’s bad jokes or roughing people up to advance the business interests of his partner, Egerton makes the most of his supporting role and is terrific in a character that requires the actor to be both a tough guy and a vulnerable submissive lackey to the whims of a completely unhinged and unpredictable Ronnie Kray. He also takes on a noticeably lower-class, Cockney accent that makes his performance even more believable.
Edward Brittain in ‘Testament of Youth’ (2014)
Egerton dives into another biographical character in the BBC-produced Testament of Youth as Edward Brittain, the younger brother of noted writer and headstrong women’s rights activist, Vera Brittain (Alicia Vikander). Set during the First World War, the film is based on the memoirs of a privileged Vera, who postponed her Oxford University studies to serve as a nurse. Egerton is rock solid as Edward, the playful and ebullient sibling, and confidante to Vera. Edward passes up studying at Oxford as well and enlists as a soldier in the British army after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. If All Quiet on the Western Front is the tale of the German trench warfare in World War I, then Testament of Youth is the British counterpart, with more flowery dialogue and romance. And Egerton is up to the task once again as a duty-bound man who has the cold, hard, brutish reality of trench warfare heaped upon him. Soon the two are reunited in a triage unit where Edward is clinging to life and Vera vies to save him.
Johnny the Gorilla in ‘Sing’ (2016) and ‘Sing 2’ (2021)
It wasn’t until 2016 that we found out that Egerton could do more than just carry a tune. In fact, he sang so well in both animated hits Sing and Sing 2, that Elton John heard his voice and recommended him for the role in Rocketman. Egerton voices the imposing gorilla, Johnny, who’s actually just a softy with a beautiful voice. Egerton graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in 2012, where he honed his vocal skills. He was later nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media for his work in the Elton John biopic.