Elton John World News: Stars and Starz

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A Singer and Premier Visit An Animation Studio

Wednesday 27 May 2009 @ 16:34 - GMT

Music legend Sir Elton John, right, and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty smile before speaking at a press conference at Starz animation studio in Toronto on Tuesday  May 26 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
 

Above are Elton and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty at yesterday's press conference at Starz animation studio in Toronto.

 

The musician was waxing so eloquently on Ontario's burgeoning film animation industry that McGuinty jokingly offered him a cabinet post.


As divulged previously, Starz Animation is producing a new animated movie called Gnomeo And Juliet for Elton's film company, Rocket Pictures.

McGuinty stated that the Ontario government is giving a $23 million grant to Starz to create new jobs.

Elton said he picked Starz from a long list of similar companies in the industry and was "overwhelmingly blown away...Ontario is a hotbed of talent."

Noting that many Ontarians have left their country to seek opportunities in show business elsewhere, Elton made the crowd laugh when he predicted "you'll find people will be coming back to Canada."

That was all McGuinty needed to hear after last week's surprise resignation of Michael Bryant from cabinet to head the city agency Invest Toronto.

"I have a new opening in my cabinet for a minister of economic development," the premier quipped to Elton, who appeared in concert with Billy Joel at the Air Canada Centre that night (and will do so again on Saturday).

"Are you available, Sir Elton?"

McGuinty suggested a cabinet shuffle to fill the vacancy is not on his rush list and will come "not in the too-near future" as the Legislature begins its summer break after next week.

Elton and Bernie Taupin have written four songs for the spoof of the Shakespeare drama. It is due to appear through Disney and Miramax films in 2011, and is expected to feature the voices of Emily Blunt and James McAvoy.

Elton suggested one reason the project was delayed was because Disney's former chief, Michael Eisner, was ''a bit of a gnomophobe.'' However, the new head, Dick Cook, ''got it right away.''

The premier noted his history with the music icon goes back a long way to his high school in Ottawa, where Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was playing when he one day approached a pretty girl who had caught his attention.

They began dating and he bought her a copy of the famous double album.

"Eight track, was it?" Elton joked back at the premier, who explained that high school girl is Terri McGuinty, his wife and mother of their four grown children.

Elton, who said he was ''turbo excited'' about Gnomeo And Juliet, invited the McGuintys to visit him backstage at last night's concert.

A video clip from the press conference appears at

www.thestar.com/videozone/640761.


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