No more Gnomeo

Ever since John Lasseter and his Pixar executive team took over at Disney’s animation facility, the sound of brooms has been heard all over the Mouse House’s ‘toon tank.

Following the dismantling of the company’s Circle 7 team – the much-derided “Pixaren’t” department that was developing sequels to the likes of Finding Nemo and Toy Story – another big Disney production has fallen under the axe.

Gnomeo & Juliet is no longer in production at Disney, according to the studio. The film was being planned as a major animated event with a fantasy twist on Shakespeare’s classic tale of thwarted love. No official reason has been given for the cancellation of the film, but insider whispers point to a board meeting in which a “senior Pixar executive” questioned the Disney chiefs as to why the film was in production in the first place. After an appropriately sitcom-like silence, the idea was ditched.

It’s a surprising move, since this was to be Disney’s big reunion with warbler and Lion King collaborator Elton John. He’d performed at a Disney showcase to launch the movie, had agreed to throw open his musical catalogue for the film and write new songs for it. Yet It’s not the first time the film has been shut down, though: Disney themselves originally stopped work in 2004 after deciding that it just couldn’t work, but were persuaded to re-start it after Elton agreed to the music deal.

Oh, and one more group who won’t be pleased at the news? Disney’s soundtrack department. Can you imagine the thought of losing the chance to release an Elton John Greatest hits disc? There’ll be tears in the accounting department today.

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