It’s now been a full four years since the release of whimsical animation Gnomeo and Juliet, and just as we were beginning to question whether the sequel was in trouble or not, The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that Black Mass star Johnny Depp has landed the title role in Sherlock Gnomes.
Starring opposite James McAvoy and Emily Blunt for the follow-up, Depp’s titular sleuth will be hunted down by the Shakespearian pair, as they long to solve the great mystery surrounding the disappearances of fellow garden gnomes once and for all. Kung Fu Panda director John Stevenson is behind the lens for the animated sequel, though it’s unclear whether Sherlock Gnomes will once again tap Elton John for musical inspiration.
Speaking of tapping an old formula, Kevin Cecil and Andy Riley will return to pen the script for Paramount, which picked up rights for the film from Disney shortly after the release of the original. Indeed, it’s quite surprising that a sequel has been given the go-ahead, though the fact that Gnomeo and Juliet pulled in a fairly respectable $193 million at the worldwide box office has provided Paramount with enough impetus – a figure inflated by the addition of 3D.
As for the casting of Depp, it’s no secret that Arthur Conan Doyle’s legendary sleuth has been portrayed by a great many actors throughout the years, not to mention Robert Downey Jr., Jonny Lee Miller, Benedict Cumberbatch and, more recently, Ian McKellan in Mr. Holmes. There’s no question that the Pirates of the Caribbean alum will be the topic of Oscar conversation later this year for Black Mass, and there is perhaps no better respite from hardboiled crime than a Gnome-centric musical.
Sherlock Gnomes is targeting a January 12, 2018 release in the US.