Elton John: big daddy

Unlike most frantic new fathers, Elton John isn’t stressed out about the two very different offspring in his life: newborn Zachary Jackson Levon and ‘‘Gnomeo & Juliet,” an animated film that he’s been parenting for more than a decade. In fact, when talking to the pop legend about his monumental new arrivals, he’s surprisingly sedate. “Having the baby has chilled me out so much,” the singer told the AP uring a recent interview.


“It’s made me so relaxed and happy. I’m in the best of moods. Who wouldn’t be? I’m proud to talk about something we’ve been making for 11 years that’s finally coming out. I feel happy. I’ve never been this kind of calm.”

To be clear, the baby is newborn Zachary and the thing that’s been cooking for 11 years is “Gnomeo & Juliet.” John is executive producer of the computer-generated tale about a pair of star-crossed garden gnomes. His production company Rocket Pictures snapped up the script, which spoofs the William Shakespeare classic “Romeo and Juliet,” in 2000. During development, the film flopped from Disney to Miramax then back to Disney. (”Michael Eisner didn’t get gnomes,” lamented John.) Eventually, the movie’s producers, which includes John’s partner David Furnish, took control and escaped to Toronto, where Starz Animation worked for the past five years to bring the battling blue and red gnomes to life. “Gnomeo & Juliet,” out Friday in both 2-D and 3-D, is being released under Disney’s Touchstone Pictures label, the first animated movie to do so since 1993’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

The G-rated film tells the story of gnomes Juliet (voiced by Emily Blunt) and Gnomeo (James McAvoy), who fall in love against the wishes of their warring kin.


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