Elton John on his son Zachary & Gnomeo and Juliet

On my trip to Hollywood, one of the highlights of the trip was getting to join a very cool group of bloggers and interview Elton John on Touchstone’s Gnomeo and Juliet. I’m betting that once this movie is released on February 11th, top iPod downloads for kids will be “Tiny Dancer” and “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” Can’t wait to see that!

Sir Elton John was so much fun at the interview, he sang a few lines for our enjoyment and offered to take more questions even after his time was up. All of us at the interview were very impressed and appreciative for his heartfelt answers and personal touch. He talked a lot about the movie but shared even more about his new son Zachary.

On what attracted him to Gnomeo and Juliet:

The story is obviously one of the most famous stories in the world, written by William Shakespeare. So you can’t really get much higher art than William Shakespeare. He’s obviously the world’s most famous playwright.  And probably the best playwright there has ever been. But, with the garden gnomes, they’re probably the lowest form of entertainment. So you’ve got the two of them together, the highest and the lowest.  And we thought that we could have fun with the visual aspect of the gnomes and the great story.

On how he picked the songs for the movie:

It’s pretty easy when you’ve got a lawnmower race, and it’s “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting.” That was perfect. When Benny’s on the computer, which is one of my favorite scenes, and is ordering the lawnmower and he does “Benny and the Jets.”  That was really funny, and not my idea either. Then “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” when they’re getting ready to have their first date in the garden. These songs work musically to enhance the visual aspect of the film.

How has becoming a father changed your perspective on your professional life?

It’s the icing on the cake. We had the baby on Christmas Day which was really an enchanting thing to happen. It can do nothing but make my life better. In four weeks, I found with our newborn that it’s very relaxing because they just need to be changed and burped and fed and read a story to and held.

On any future plans for writing children’s music:

I’ve love to write a children’s album. It would be great. We put together [Zachary] his own iPod, and we’ve chosen a lot, obviously, lullabies and Chopin and Mozart. But also, things by Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor.

On his favorite books to read to his son Zachary:

The first story I read to him was Cinderella. When I was a child, the first animation movies I saw were Snow White, Cinderella, and Lady and the Tramp. Those are things that never age.  They’re magical. Runaway Bunny is my favorite. It’s such a great story, and it’s so loving and sweet.

Disclosure: Thanks to Disney for the invite to this movie premiere and for covering our travel expenses. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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