The Smurfs first came on the scene in 1958 as part of a comic book series by Pierre Culliford (aka. Peyo). Since then, the blue crew have proven that they are larger than their average height, having become box-office giants after pulling in $911 million worldwide. Following the success of their two live-action/animated movies - The Smurfs ($563.7 million) in 2011 and the aptly named The Smurfs 2 ($347.5 million) in 2013 – a third film has been slated for a 2017 release.
The next installment – the newly titled Smurfs: The Lost Village – will be a fully animated reboot of the franchise, directed by Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2, Gnomeo and Juliet). The voice cast consists of Demi Lovato (Smurfette), Mandy Patinkin (Papa Smurf), Jack McBrayer (Clumsy), Danny Pudi (Brainy) and Rainn Wilson (Gargamel) – though it’s Joe Manganiello’s ‘Hefty’ that might prove to be the biggest hit amongst fans.
Sony Pictures Animation (via USA Today) have revealed the first couple of images from the Smurfs' upcoming on-screen adventure, which promises to stay closer to creator Peyo’s original vision. Check them out, below:
The first batch of images from Smurfs: Lost Village confirm that Hefty hasn’t lost his title of being the ‘bravest and strongest’ in the Smurfs village as he is pictured in one of them – front and center – carrying a ladder with gusto, while Brainy stands atop leading the way and Clumsy is… well… being clumsy and has fallen off the wagon.
It would appear that Joe Manganiello's (Magic Mike) muscular physique had an influence on his character depiction, as director Asbury admitted:
“We’ve designed Hefty to have slightly bulkier arms, and he can flex his biceps – Hefty Smurf has guns. He also walks with a rather puffed-up, confident posture.”
The actor might have been shrunk down from his 6ft 5” frame but his Smurf appears shirtless and can be easily identified by the heart tattoo on his upper right arm, remaining faithful to the original comic book illustrations.
Smurfs: The Lost Village takes place before its predecessors and, according to the Sony Pictures Animation synopsis, will follow the adventures of Smurfette and her brothers as they trek through the uncharted Enchanted Forest to try and find a fabled Smurfs village before their long-standing nemesis, the evil wizard Gargamel, gets there before them. The film aims to answer some of the fans' questions about the blue-hued creatures' origins, such as: Can The Smurfs be other colours? Are their mushroom houses organic? And, the big one: why are there 99 boys and only one girl?
Smurfs: The Lost Village will be coming to a theater near you on March 31, 2017.