A 3-D Shakespeare adaptation borderlines ridiculous, and while replacing Romeo and Juliet with Garden Gnomes might send dramaturges off the deep end, Disney’s Gnomeo & Juliet is surprisingly charming. The adorably embellished/child-proof rendition of Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy stars James McAvoy and Emily Blunt and hits theaters nationwide this weekend.
Disney rarely fails to provide fantastic visuals for their animated pictures, and the Elton John compositions certainly adds some flare – but the sweet nature of the adaptation will resonate most with audiences. We we’re fortunate enough to score a one on one with the perfectly charming James McAvoy to chat about his menace of a character! Check out the interview below..
Gearing any Shakespeare adaptation towards a young audience is certainly risque. Child-proofing a story of such dramatic capacity could potentially challenge the integrity of the material. It was important for these filmmakers to eliminate the PG-13 without butchering the story line. McAvoy notes,
“The story of Romeo and Juliet has a lot of nice morals. It’s got ‘don’t pay attention to preconception and prejudice’ and ‘forgiveness is really important’ – all that’s really good stuff to tell kids. But, everybody dies or commits suicide or takes a drug or kills someone or has sex with someone they shouldn’t be having sex with! So you use Garden Gnomes and give them all these good little morals and tidbits without the suicide, sex, and drugs!”
With only one other animated project under his belt, McAvoy was still relatively new to the recording studio scene. Without a single session with his opposite, Emily Blunt, McAvoy was essentially acting against himself. He notes,
“In animated movies I get paid to hyperventilate and lose my voice. By the end of that I can hardly speak and have psychedelic feelings. There was a lot of ‘Oof! Argh! Ooo! Ah!’ The fact that you’re not working with any other actors is kind of nuts. I always see Romeo as being a bit of a pain in the backside. Very in love with himself, he’s got a lot of time for himself and sometimes for the ladies…It was important to make him a little bit of a cock of the walk.”
The creative team behind the film, including Sir. Elton John, spent nearly eleven years developing the project, and McAvoy was immediately enticed by their passion for the project…
“They were possibly the most enthusiastic bunch of producers and directors that I’ve ever met, and they loved their project so much and they wanted to share so much and that was really infectious. And then they showed me a little model of the garden gnome that I would play, and I thought “Well, If I’m going to be a garden gnome, I’d like to look like that!”
Next up for McAvoy is the highly anticipated X-Men: First Class alongside Oscar-nominee Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon, Michael Fassbender, Zoe Kravtiz, etc. McAvoy is still in re-shoots and the film is set for release June 3rd…
“I don’t think I’ve ever made such a big movie in such a short period of time. It’s nuts, really. But, we’re getting it done. No movie has ever got enough time. It doesn’t matter how much money you’ve got, and it doesn’t matter how much money you’ve not got. You never finish on time! You’re always up against it and you’re always working up until then end. To get three days off the schedule to come and do press for Gnomeo and Juliet is a nice break, cause it is just non-stop all the time.
The Kelly Asbury directed 3-D picture hits theaters nationwide Friday, February 11th. Check it out now!