James McAvoy and Emily Blunt are in negotiations to voice the lead roles in Gnomeo and Juliet, a new CGI take on Shakespeare.

The Miramax/Rocket Pictures production puts a horticultural spin on the work of the Bard, with Atonement star McAvoy and The Devil Wears Prada actress Blunt in line to voice gnomes from rival gardens.

Initially earmarked as a Walt Disney picture, the project was dropped by Pixar chiefs John Lasseter and Ed Catmull.

But thanks to the persistence of Miramax president Daniel Battsek, the tale of Juliet and her Gnomeo is likely to be completed by 2010.

With Elton John's Rocket Pictures on board - and the singer executive producing alongside David Furnish, Baker Bloodworth and Steve Hamilton Shaw - the Shakespeare adaptation is also likely to feature several of his classic hits as well as some new material, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Kelly Asbury will direct from Rob Sprackling and John R Smith's script, with the project currently at storyboard stage.

Golden Globe nominee McAvoy, who starred in one of the year's biggest box office successes in Wanted, recently completed work on historical drama The Last Station while Blunt can next be seen in the title role in Young Victoria, Julian Fellowes' take on the relationship between the British monarch and Prince Albert.

20/08/2008 09:10:42