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'Gnomeo & Julet' Director Kelly Asbury Talks the Narrative Quality of Elton John Songs

  • By Drew Taylor
  • |
  • February 10, 2011 4:33 AM
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Plus: His Take on the Nearly Endless Development Process & Why Everyone Gets Uptight About the Movie's EnglishnessDisney and Rocket Films' "Gnomeo & Juliet," opening nationwide this Friday, has had a storied production history that could be its own compelling film. The story of star-crossed lawn ornaments was set up as a joint Disney/Rocket Films production in the first part of the aughts, under the supervision of "Beauty and the Beast" co-director Gary Trousdale, with Kate Winslet and Ewan McGregor attached (they're now replaced by Emily Blunt and James McAvoy). The project fell apart, only to regain steam and be cut down again when Pixar's John Lasseter was installed, as the head of Disney's animation division (this was around the time he axed Chris Sanders' "American Dog," before neutering it and turning it into the toneless "Bolt"). The project was finally rescued by executive Dick Cook, who set it up not at Disney Animation proper, but with Miramax instead. Of course, with Miramax since being sold, Walt Disney are now taking on distribution duties for the film. At the end of all the back and forth, this take on the Shakespearean classic, thankfully, did not end in tragedy.

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