Previously we reported that the long-awaited film adaptation of The Smurfs was finally going to take place, under the direction of Raja Gosnell, the director of the Scooby-Doo live action films. Not much was known of the casting for the combination live action/CGI feature film at that time, other than a few key roles. We can now add Simpsons voice actor Hank Azaria and Jayma Mays (Glee) to the growing list.
The Smurfs ran as a cartoon on NBC for eight years, and the small blue creatures became pop culture icons in the process. We already know that some of the big names in the entertainment world have been cast for the film.
As previously announced, comedian Jonathan Winters will play Papa Smurf, pop-singer Katy Perry will voice Smurfette, TV host George Lopez will voice Grouchy Smurf, and Broadway star Alan Cumming will play a new character, Gutsy Smurf.
Neil Patrick Harris has been cast as a live-action human character, Johan, an expectant father, whose whole life will change once he meets the Smurfs. Glee’s Jayma Mays, who will have soon work with Harris on an episode of Glee, will team up with him again, playing his pregnant wife.
Harris explains his role by saying, “I’m more the Jason Lee to the Smurfs’ Chipmunks.” To the fans who thought he would be playing Gargamel, he jokingly said, “I’m deeply offended by the inference that I have the physical prowess to be Gargamel. He’s supposed to be well over 50, balding, with a hook nose, and a hump in his back.”
Instead, the part of Gargamel has gone to Azaria, who is best known for voicing Moe the bartender, Chief Wiggum, and Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu on The Simpsons. Not that he’ll be providing yet another voice to a cartoon character, though. Harris chimes in again, this time from his Twitter page, stating, “Hank Azaria will be PLAYING Gargamel for the Smurfs film, not just providing a voice. He’ll be live action. Perfect casting, can’t wait!” Harris is probably happy to get as many people as he can to costar with him “live.”
We still have some Smurf characters unclaimed. Will all of them return for the feature film, since we have at least one new character in Gutsy Smurf. Will we see Handy Smurf, Lazy Smurf, Clumsy Smurf, Farmer Smurf and the others?
What do you think? Are you pleased with the new casting? Does Azaria work as Gargamel?