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A Gnomeo By Any Other Name Is James McAvoy

James McAvoy and Emily Blunt are in negotiations to play the title roles in Miramax's GNOMEO AND JULIET, a CG animated Shakespeare adaptation from Elton John's Rocket Pictures, per THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER.

Kate Winslet was attached to voice Juliet two years ago and had to drop out because of scheduling conflicts. The film will feature several of John's classic songs, as well as music from former collaborator Tim Rice. The duo, who teamed on THE LION KING, was originally supposed to write original songs for the film.

Described as a loose and edgy adaptation of the Shakespeare play, McAvoy and Blunt would play lovers from rival gardens. John is producing alongside offscreen partner David Furnish, Baker Bloodworth and Steve Hamilton Shaw, and is pursuing big-name actors for supporting roles as well.

GNOMEO was brought to Walt Disney Feature Animation originally, but was dropped several years later by incoming Pixar execs John Lasseter and Ed Catmull. Miramax President Daniel Batsek, who had been following the project, persuaded Disney Studios chairman Dick Cook to revive the project at the Miramax specialty division in April 2006.

Kelly Asbury is set to direct from an original script from Rob Sprackling and John R. Smith. Kevin Cecil, Andy Riley and Mark Burton worked on later versions of the screenplay. The production is in storyboard phase and is expected for release in 2010.