Shakespeare story gets redo from Arc

Eye on the Oscars: Animation - 'Gnomeo and Juliet'

In retelling Shakespeare with lawn ornaments, the big challenge was “finding a way to blend this classic story in a format that didn’t have a tragic ending, yet still entertained and got the point across about prejudice and feuding families, all done with garden gnomes and using a score by Elton John,” says director Kelly Asbury, who also co-wrote the screenplay.

“Technically, the believability of the gnomes and their world was very important to me, and our team at Arc Animation in Toronto did all the texturing of the gnomes and the animation.”

Lighting the world and all of the environments was also a challenge, with the goal being to make everything look as realistic as possible.

According to Asbury, a pleasant surprise was “just how big and crucial a role all the sound work played in creating this totally believable world. Glenn Freemantle and his team worked diligently during our post production in London to contribute a sound that perfectly captures the heightened reality that these gnomes live in.”

Asbury credits the film’s $100 million domestic success to all the work the team put into the script.

“As always, the story is the main challenge, but how you tell it and the manner in which you tell it depends greatly on the technical aspects. This took five years from when I began,” he says.

“There’s already been talk at Rocket Pictures, Elton John’s London film company, of doing more projects in this vein, building on what we’ve now developed. I’d love to see the further adventures of these characters.”

Animated pics boost property values
Whether working on a shoestring hand-drawn project or pushing the limits of computer-generated technology, this year’s offerings overcame major challenges in bringing their animated visions to screen. Here’s how:
‘Arthur Christmas’ | ‘Chico and Rita’ | ‘Gnomeo and Juliet’ | ‘Rango’ | ‘Wrinkles’ | ‘Rio’