McAvoy, Blunt Mull Gnomeo Voice Work

Once in development by Walt Disney Feature Animation, the CG-animated feature film Gnomeo and Juliet is now in the works at Miramax and Elton John’s Rocket Pictures, and may have some high-caliber Hollywood talent lined up for its voice cast. According to The Hollywood Reporter, James McAvoy (Wanted) and Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada) are in negotiations to play the film’s leads. Kate Winslet (Titanic) was previously attached to voice Juliet, but had to leave the project due to scheduling conflicts.

Featuring a number of classic Elton John tunes, Gnomeo and Juliet will offer an animated twist on Shakespeare’s classic love story by setting it in the world of tacky garden gnomes. The project is being shepherded by Miramax president Daniel Battsek and Rocket Pictures producing partners David Furnish and Steve Hamilton Shaw. John is producing alongside partner David Furnish, Baker Bloodworth and Steve Hamilton Shaw.

Rocket Pictures brought the project to Disney several years ago and a script was completed by Rob Sprackling and John Smith. The film was then dropped from the studio’s development slate when Pixar creative head John Lasseter took over. A new Gnomeo script has been penned by Kevin Cecil, Andy Riley and Mark Burton.

Currently being storyboarded, Gnomeo and Juliet is directed by Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron) for a planned 2010 release.