April 3, 2011

Elton John Lends Songs to "Gnomeo & Juliet"


Romeo and Juliet’ is one of the greatest love stories of all time,” says Elton John, who serves as executive producer and provides the music for Touchstone Pictures' new animated comedy “Gnomeo & Juliet.” “And garden gnomes are huge in many countries throughout the world. We thought this would be a really good idea.”

John, a singer, songwriter, musician and humanitarian, teamed up with longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin to provide the soundtrack for the film. “In describing the music, all I can say is that I had to reevaluate myself with any pop sensibilities still lurking in my decidedly un-pop brain,” says Taupin. “Cue some old Beatles circa ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ and voila, that sounded like a good starting point. Gnomes are very poppy, wouldn’t you agree? Colorful, energetic and ABBAesque, so it seemed only natural that the songs suit the characters. Guess I just put my pointy hat on and went out into the garden.”

“Elton John and Bernie Taupin are geniuses,” says director Kelly Asbury. “They have written classics for the ages. And the opportunity to use that in the fabric of the movie was fantastic.”

These gnomes don’t sing, says the director. “We didn’t want it to be a traditional musical. But to use the music as song score really tied it together.”

Adds producer Steve Hamilton Shaw, “The songs are terrific. The music overall is crucial in not only showcasing the comedy, but also in delivering the emotion that lies behind the story. The movie has great emotional depth and strength of character.”

The John-Taupin team created all-new music for the film, including “Hello Hello,” a song created to illustrate the moment when Gnomeo meets and falls for Juliet. “It’s our love-at-first-sight song,” says Asbury.

At the other end of the spectrum is “Love Builds a Garden.” Says Asbury, “‘Love Builds a Garden’ is Featherstone’s backstory song that teaches Gnomeo and Juliet a really big lesson about hate versus love and the power of love.”

“I think ‘Love Builds a Garden’ is the best song in the movie,” says John. “The flamingo explains to them that even though his garden is overgrown, it once flourished because the two people that lived there loved each other. Once they stopped loving each other, the garden died. But love can bring the garden back to life.”

“Gnomeo & Juliet” also features a new take on “Crocodile Rock,” performed by Nelly Furtado, featuring John. His classic recordings will also be featured in the film, including “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting,” “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” and “Your Song.”

“It’s very accessible,” says John about the film. “It’s very funny, and because it’s quite colloquial, we can make it even funnier.”

Opening across the Philippines on April 13 in Digital 3D and regular format, “Gnomeo & Juliet” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International.

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