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Elton John lends songs to 'Gnomeo and Juliet'

February 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
One of Shakespeare's classic stories gets a modern re-mix with "Gnomeo and Juliet."

Elton John, who won an Oscar in 1995 for his music in "The Lion King," contributed songs -- both old and new -- to the new animated film. He also worked as an executive producer on the film, and has been trying to get this tale onto the big screen for more than 10 years.

"It was being made, it wasn't being made. It had to be resuscitated on so many occasions," said John.

But the legendary musician never gave up the fight to bring this story of long-feuding garden gnomes from neighboring yards to the big screen.

"My executive producer would rally the troops when things were bad and they were bad on several occasions," said John.

He said he had to use his name and status to attract interest in the film.

"This is Elton, will you please answer my phone call, talk to me about this bloody movie? And sometimes you have to battle for things you believe in and that's what happened," John said.

His strong connection to the film is simple: This new first-time father believes in the message it's trying to get across.

"The message of this film is love conquers hate. And I've always believed that anyway, it always has been," said John. "You hear more about the hate than the love unfortunately. But I think if we can get a message to kids, that it's not worth spending a lot of time hating people for no reason, just because your parents say so or just because you've been told to hate someone. Use your own sense. And it's a message I want to pass on to my child."

I feel at 63 years of age that it's my job, in what I do and especially in this movie, to try and get that message across."

"Gnomeo and Juliet" features the voice talents of Emily Blunt, James McAvoy, Michael Caine, Julie Walters, Maggie Smith, Jason Stathem and many others. It hits theaters nationwide on Friday, Feb. 11.