Johnny Depp to voice Sherlock Gnomes in follow-up to Gnomeo & Juliet

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Johnny Depp will be joining James McAvoy and Emily Blunt in Paramount/MGM’s animated gnome world. The A-list actors will be lending their voices to Sherlock Gnomes, the follow-up to the 2011 3D fantasy romcom Gnomeo & Juliet, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Written by Ben Zazove (Captain Planet, Rex Libris), Depp will voice Sherlock Gnomes, an homage to the famous detective who will investigate the disappearance of several garden gnomes in London.

The first film in the franchise, Gnomeo & Juliet, received mixed reviews for its loose take on the Shakespeare classic, but raked in nearly $200 million at the box offices. Directed by Kelly Asbury (Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Shrek 2), it starred Blunt and MacAvoy, along with Michael Caine and Jason Statham. (Caine and Statham have not been confirmed for the follow-up.) Notably, Elton John and David Furnish produced the soundtrack.

As in the 2011 film, Elton John will executive produce the film through his Rocket Pictures. Gnomeo & Juliet featured new songs from Elton John as well as collaborations with Nelly Furtado (Crocodile Rock) and Kiki Dee (Don’t Go Breaking My Heart). Also featured on the soundtrack were classic cuts from the knighted English singer/songwriter like Rocket Man, Tiny Dancer, and Bennie and the Jets. It’s unclear if John will produce the soundtrack for the new film, but considering his involvement, it’s more than likely.

“On the whole, I think they did such a great job because, even though it’s all our back catalog and a couple of new songs, it doesn’t feel as if it’s overbearing, or an Elton John movie,” explained John to Collider about the soundtrack at the time.

John Stevenson (Kung Fu Panda) will direct the film. Also on board to produce are David Furnish, Carolyn Soper (who previously worked for Disney on projects like Tangled and The Princess and the Frog) and Steve Hamilton-Shaw.

Sherlock Gnomes is set for release in January 2018.