Those of you who care about the upcoming live-action/CGI hybrid adaptation of The Smurfs will probably like to know that the movie is moving forward at high speed with some new cast members.
Entertainment Weekly has sources who say that Hank Azaria, Katy Perry and Jayma Mays have joined The Smurfs cast, which already features Neil Patrick Harris (playing the lead live-action character), George Lopez and Alan Cumming.
Azaria is best known for his voice acting work on The Simpsons, voicing characters like Apu and Moe. He will play the evil Gargamel, sworn enemy of The Smurfs (interestingly co-star Neil Patrick Harris Tweeted that Azaria will be playing him on-screen not just providing the voice).
Perry is a well-known popstar (yes, it's that Katy Perry) who, as previously rumored, will be voicing Smurfette (who Gargamel originally created, FYI).
Jayma Mays is best known for playing the guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury in Glee. She will play the pregnant wife of Neil Patrick Harris' character.
Despite all these reports saying those folks have been cast, Sony declined to comment. I'm assuming an official announcement from the studio will be forthcoming.
The Smurfs will be directed by Raja Gosnell (Beverly Hills Chihuahua - ouch!) and it centers on the aforementioned expectant couple’s lives being turned upside-down upon meeting the titular blue creatures. It will take place in New York's Central Park.
Personally I don't really like the direction they've decided to go in with the big-screen version of The Smurfs. To me it would be best kept totally animated, done in the style of Shrek or Kung Fu Panda (although the script was written by Shrek 2 & 3 writers, David Stern and David Weiss). The current CGI/Live-action format stinks of films like Alvin and the Chipmunks and Garfield (get the sick bags, quick! :P ).
To me the casting is the only ray of hope the movie as. Neil Patrick Harris might as well walk around with "legend" on his forehead, and I don't think there are many better comedy actors working today than Hank Azaria (can you believe he does Moe, Chief Wiggum, Apu and Professor Frink in The Simpsons?). I remember really liking The Smurfs when I was a kid but do kids nowadays really care about them (or, for that matter, even know who/what they are)?
Do you like the voice casting so far for The Smurfs? Do you like the Alvin and the Chipmunk-esque way they've decided to go with the movie?
After being pushed back from its original December 17th, 2010 release date, The Smurfs 3-D is now set to hit theaters on July 29th, 2011.
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