Elton Roars About Gnomeo & Juliet
There was one obvious song that would fit in the movie, which was "Saturday Night's Alright Right for Fighting" for the lawn mower race. That wasn't my idea; that was already someone -- I think maybe [director Kelly Asbury's] idea. From that point on, I really just handed it over to James and the rest of the team to put it in. I didn't really take an active part saying, "This should go there." I didn't, for example, choose "Bennie and the Jets" to go in the scene when Benny is on the computer ordering the Terriferminator. But obviously it worked, so you didn't have to be a magician to think that might work there.
But on the whole -- it's nice to see the music -- I think James has done such a great job because even though it's all out of back-catalogue and a couple of new songs, it doesn't feel as if it's overbearing and it's an Elton John movie. It feels like Gnomeo & Juliet with some good music in it, and I'm glad it's turned out like that because I didn't want it to be just bang, bang, bang, old catalog stuff. So that's the way it happened, really.
Q: What is your favorite part of the movie?
EJ: Well, I think for me, one of the funniest scenes in the movie, and it's very important, I think, if you're British and take the piss out of yourself. You're raised to do that in England, which is rather good. I think the same with "Your Song," when Stephen Merchant plays the character of the weedy gnome, then suddenly there I am: glam gnome, the gnomeosexual in the film.
EJ: Oh, you do nothing. Absolutely nothing. You just get this title called executive producer, and I go away on tour and I just say, "Get on with it." All jokes aside, there have been a couple of times when the movie has been kind of in danger of being dropped by the studio of Walt Disney, where I've had to make the phone call to the head of the studio and say, "Listen, it's me. We have to have a meeting. We've come so far. We cannot lose the film now." That's my job as the executive producer.
Q: Is there anything left you'd like to conquer?
EJ: Well, there's always things you want to do. I mean, obviously ballet is not an option. Not really. I'd just like to make a really great film about my life story, and we're thinking about that. We have a great script already by Lee Hall, who wrote Billy Elliot. Obviously it's not going to be your normal run-of-the-mill film because it's got-- my life has been kind of crazy, and I think it's important to do a kind of surrealistic look or take on my life. I'd love to do that. This business is so incredible; in 1993 I got a phone call from Tim Rice saying would I do The Lion King, when at that time all I was doing was making records, touring, and doing videos.
It gave me the opportunity, with that one phone call, to suddenly write musicals for the stage, film scores and it just opened the doors to so many things. I don't know what's around the corner, and that's kind of the way I like it. You really can't plan. My career has not been planned -- oh, in three years we're going to do this. It just happens by accident. That's the way I look at it.
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.