Kelly Asbury is directing the 3D animated fantasy comedy, produced by Elton John’s Rocket Pictures.

Pathe has boarded international rights to Gnomeo & Juliet, the 3D animated fantasy originally set up under the auspices of Miramax.

Walt Disney Studios will now handle the North American release through its Touchstone label on February 11, 2011.

Elton John’s Rocket Pictures is producing and Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2) is directing the comic take on Shakespeare’s timeless romance set in the unlikely world of ceramic garden gnomes.

James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Michael Caine, Maggie Smith, Jason Statham, Patrick Stewart, Matt Lucas and Ashley Jenson are among the confirmed voice cast.

Gnomeo & Juliet will feature classic Elton John songs such as Crocodile Rock, Saturday Night and Your Song, in addition to original songs from John and longtime writing partner Bernie Taupin.

John’s Rocket Pictures partners David Furnish and Steve Hamilton Shaw are producing alongside Disney’s Baker Bloodworth.

Gnomeo & Juliet continues The Walt Disney Studios long, successful history with Sir Elton John,” Alan Bergman, president of Walt Disney Studios, said. “And Pathe represents the ideal partner for this film in today’s dynamic international marketplace.”      

“I am very pleased to be continuing my successful relationship with The Walt Disney Studios and am looking forward to working with Pathe internationally,” John said, adding: “I am excited to get this movie in front of audiences. I know they’ll love it as much as I do.”

Pathe executive vice-president Francois Ivernel said: “We are delighted to be in partnership with Rocket and Disney and to have the opportunity to bring this magical movie to the broadest of international audiences.”