News / Arts & Entertainment

    Garden Gnomes Portray Star Crossed Lovers in 'Gnomeo and Juliet'

    Scene from "Gnomeo and Juliet"
    Scene from "Gnomeo and Juliet"

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Alan Silverman

    In the four centuries since Romeo and Juliet was first performed, Shakespeare's tragic tale of "star cross'd lovers" has been recast into formats from high school comedy to musical theater. Now, at long last, we have the whimsical Disney version in a new animated family film produced by rock star Elton John and set in the world of garden gnomes. Here's a look at Gnomeo and Juliet.



    "Top of the morning!"
    "Lady Bluebury."
    "Your tulips are looking a little limp, aren't they?"
    "I don't like what you are incinerating."


    Two households, both alike in dignity; well, 'dignity' for the cartoon world. It is not in fair Verona, but in a quiet English neighborhood where we lay our scene, in the gardens of next door neighbors Lord Redbrick and Lady Bluebury. Each flowerbed is populated with those classic English garden decorations: little statues of gnomes. His have red caps, hers wear blue and they are bitter rivals. This being the animated version, the gnomes come to life when people are not watching; but when red-capped Juliet meets blue-wearing Gnomeo, the ancient grudge is forgotten.

    Scene from "Gnomeo and Juliet"
    Scene from "Gnomeo and Juliet"

    Gnomeo and Juliet is directed and co-written by animation veteran Kelly Asbury, who makes no apologies to William Shakespeare or to the bard's, perhaps, most malleable tale.

    "I think what's universal about the story of Romeo and Juliet is every one has grown up and done something that was rebellious against their parents' wishes, be it love or something else," Asbury says. "We are all rebellious teenagers. Sometimes we grow out of it and sometimes we don't. So one of the underlying themes of the entire movie is [something] everyone can relate to ..…and it's true in many stories like Romeo and Juliet, like Twilight or something."

    "What are you doing here?"

    "I don't know. Um ..…I came here to ..…well, I don't know, I just wanted to see you again."

    "Are you crazy? If Dad finds you, he'll bury you under the patio!"


    Emily Blunt plays Juliet in "Gnomeo And Juliet"
    Emily Blunt plays Juliet in "Gnomeo And Juliet"

    English actress Emily Blunt is the voice of fair Juliet and says she drew on her experience playing the original tragic version on stage.

    "I actually did find it very helpful," admits Blunt. "When I did Romeo and Juliet I was about 19 and it was my third professional job and I had a really wonderful director who encouraged a different view of Juliet: that she is not a wilting, delicate flower ..…that she is actually hot-tempered just like her dad and she is decisive and rebellious. When I met Kelly and all these guys it was really great to hear that they really wanted to have a tough, little Juliet like the one I had done on stage."

    James McAvoy plays Gnomeo in "Gnomeo And Juliet"
    James McAvoy plays Gnomeo in "Gnomeo And Juliet"

    As bold Gnomeo to Blunt's Juliet: the voice of Scottish-born James McAvoy, who has played the young lover in several stage productions.

    "I always see Romeo as being a bit of a pain in the backside," says McAvoy, "and very in love with himself. He's got a lot of time for himself and some time for the ladies …..as long they've got time for him; and then something massive happens to him. So that was important to kind of make him a little bit 'cock of the walk;' but also Gnomeo in this is a little bit of an amalgamation between Romeo and Mercutio ..…but we don't have that Mercutio character, that leader of the pack, which Romeo isn't, but Gnomeo is, so it was handy to have an appreciation of who Mercutio was as well and that weight of expectation not only to conform to what your family wants, but also just to show off for your blue pals."

    "If he won't come out, I guess we'll just have to go in."
    "The red garden? No one has ever been in there."
    "Well then, I say it's about time someone did."


    Scene from "Gnomeo And Juliet"
    Scene from "Gnomeo And Juliet"

    Gnomeo and Juliet has been 12 years in the making. That's how long it's been since executive producer Elton John first proposed the film that he believes is as relevant today as the original was in the sixteenth century.

    "I do feel as though there is a message in this film: we spend so much time hating each other because our parents tell us that's what we have to do," says John. "I think this is a storyline saying we should all get on. Even if we're Catholic or Protestant or Muslim or Jews, if we're Democrats or Republicans, if there is any message that can come out of this film -- which is purely coincidental and the timing is coincidental -- then I'm all for it because that is what life is all about. It is not about hatred."

    The voice cast of Gnomeo and Juliet also features Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Jason Statham, Hulk Hogan, Ozzy Osbourne and Patrick Stewart (as Will Shakespeare). The soundtrack includes classic hits and new songs by producer Elton John.

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs

    African Music Treasures