After languishing in development for many years, it looks like The Smurfs movie is finally being made.
If you’re a child of the 1980s, you remember that The Smurfs TV show ran on NBC for an amazing eight seasons. The series follows the small blue creatures as they try to live in harmony and keep the location of their village a secret from evil wizard Gargamel and his nasty feline, Azrael.
The cast is a veritable who’s-who of voice talent with actors like Don Messick, Lucille Bliss, Frank Welker, Danny Goldman, June Foray, Michael Bell, William Callaway, Hamilton Camp, Alan Oppenheimer, Alan Young, and Paul Winchell.
A live-action/CGI feature film of The Smurfs has been in the works for nearly a decade. In 2008, Columbia Pictures acquired the film rights and partnered with Sony Pictures Animation. In July 2009, Raja Gosnell was signed as the project’s director. No stranger to cartoon remakes, Gosnell has helmed both Scooby-Doo live-action pictures.
Producer Jordan Kerner, who’s been working on the project for many years, said of the choice, “With Raja coming aboard, we now have a brilliant director who has proved time and again that he has a deft touch in blending the worlds of physical comedy and honest emotion with both live-action and photo-real animated characters.”
Though the TV show was incredibly successful, the producers are favoring “big name” performers rather than traditional voice actors.
Veteran funnyman Jonathan Winters will play Papa Smurf and pop-singer Katy Perry will voice Smurfette. Comic George Lopez will perform Grouchy Smurf and Broadway star Alan Cumming will play Gutsy Smurf, a character not seen on the TV show.
In addition, Neil Patrick Harris will be playing a live-action human character; an expectant father whose life is turned upside down when he meets the little blue guys. Harris is expected to film his part in April when How I Met Your Mother goes on hiatus.
Most of the cast from the cartoon series are still with us. It’s unknown if they’ll be offered parts in the movie but that would certainly be a nice homage to the beloved TV show.
What do you think? Are you looking forward to seeing The Smurfs movie? Do you think the surviving voice cast of the TV show should be offered roles?