EXCLUSIVE: Elton John’s Rocket Pictures has set up the 3D animated Gnomeo & Juliet: Sherlock Gnomes, a sequel to the 2011 Disney hit that grossed $194 million worldwide. Andy Riley and Kevin Cecil, who wrote the original, are writing the sequel script. Elton John is currently composing new songs for the film. Rocket Pictures’ principals Steve Hamilton Shaw and David Furnish are producing, and John is exec producer. The plan is to begin production in the fall, and they are talking to directors. Gnomeo & Juliet director Kelly Asbury will act as a creative consultant on the sequel.
When gnomes start disappearing from the suburban gardens of England, Gnomeo, Juliet and friends enlist the help of Sherlock Gnomes, “the greatest ornamental detective,” to track the culprit. Unfortunately, Sherlock is neither as brilliant nor as insightful as his human counterpart, and as the crimes against gnomanity continue, the threat to their world becomes bigger than they ever imagined.
“Action detective stories need some gnomes to liven them up, I’m sure Arthur Conan Doyle would agree,” said Shaw. “It will be a fun, broad family film building on the popular foundation of the first. We believe the wide appeal of our world and characters combined with strong musical elements create a terrific franchise opportunity.”
Rocket Pictures, started by John and his partners to focus on family and music-themed projects, is developing an animated feature from the Michael Buckley novel series Nerds, about kids who run a spy network from their elementary school, with Buckley writing the screenplay; Asbury (who also directed Shrek 2) is writing and will helm an adaptation of Will Gallows And The Snake Bellied Troll; Rocket is also working on Rocketman, a biographical musical-fantasy film about the life of Elton John, written by Billy Elliot‘s Lee Hall. Riley and Cecil are repped by WME, Management 360 and UK’s Curtis Brown. Rocket Pictures is repped by UTA.