Just forget the words and sing along

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Smurfy Recap

So, if you're my friend on Facebook or if you follow me on Twitter, you know that for the past week or so, I've been throwing up updates on the currently-in-development live-action movie version of The Smurfs.

The film is being produced by Columbia Pictures, and it's going to be the same kind of blend of live-action and animation that we saw in Garfield and Alvin and the Chipmunks. The director is Raja Gosnell, who brought us the live-action Scooby-Doo movies and the recent Disney hit Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

First, let's get to the humans.

Neil Patrick Harris, still best remembered as Doogie Howser, and currently stealing the show on the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, has been cast as the still unnamed "lead human." The official character description calls this lead human "an expectant father whose life is turned upside down when he enters the world of the Smurfs." The expectant mother will be played by Glee star Jayma Mays.

But the big announcement today was that Hank Azaria will be playing the Smurf's arch-enemy, the evil wizard Gargamel. Azaria, of course, is a well-known veteran comedic character actor, best known for the multitude of voices he does on The Simpsons. He's Moe, he's Comic Book Guy, he's Disco Stu, he's Apu, he's Chief Wiggum, the list is endless.

And now we get to the Smurfs. As is the way in Hollywood right now, lots of big celebrity voices are signing on. There are a few offbeat choices in here that I'm still wrapping my mind around.

First up, the legendary comedian Jonathon Winters will be voicing Papa Smurf. Interesting trivia note: Winters voiced Grandpa Smurf in the original, 1980s toon. (The original voice of Papa Smurf was a legendary voice actor named Don Messick, who passed away in the late-1990s.)

Next up, that geek favourite cult film director Quentin Tarantino is voicing the know-it-all, suck-up-to-Papa-Smurf, the bespectacled Brainy Smurf. I can see the scene now.... "Papa Smurf says that in France they call a Quarter Pounder a Royale with cheese, and Papa Smurf is always right, and Papa Smurf always says...." and then we get the classic scene of Brainy being punted from the Smurf village.

Well-known Mexican-American stand-up comic George Lopez will be voicing Grouchy Smurf.

Alan Cumming will be voicing the new, created-for-the-film Smurf Gutsy Smurf.

And the one choice that's still making me go "WTF," Katy Perry is voicing Smurfette.

That's right. This is Smurfette.

Sorry, Smurfette, no girls for you to kiss in the Smurf village!

They're going to do some location filming in New York's Central Park, which suggests that it takes place in the present day. Filming begins next month for a Summer 2011 release.

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