THE SMURFS Begins Production in New York

     April 5, 2010

slice_smurfs_hanna_barbera_cartoon_01.jpg

THE SMURFS Begins Production in New York

To be clear: I do not care about The Smurfs live-action/CGI movie at all. However, Collider is a news site and we don’t just report on the projects we are personally excited for. So for our three readers who are excited for The Smurfs, Sony Pictures Animation sent out a press release announcing that film had begun production.  They also revealed that Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) and Fred Armisen (Saturday Night Live) would be among the voice cast.

Hit the jump for the full press release.  The Smurfs is slated to hit theaters on August 3, 2011.

The Smurfs movie image (1).jpgHere’s the full press release:

“THE SMURFS” BEGINS PRODUCTION IN NEW YORK

HANK AZARIA STARS AS GARGAMEL; NEIL PATRICK HARRIS AND JAYMA MAYS TAKE LIVE ACTION LEAD ROLES;

ANTON YELCHIN, COMEDY LEGEND JONATHAN WINTERS, POP STARLET KATY PERRY, ALAN CUMMING, FRED ARMISEN, AND GEORGE LOPEZ ARE THE VOICES OF THE SMURFS

CULVER CITY, Calif., April 5, 2010 – Principal photography began Friday, March 26, in New York on Columbia Pictures’/Sony Pictures Animation’s hybrid live-action and animated family comedy, The Smurfs, it was announced today by Bob Osher, president of Sony Pictures Digital Productions, Hannah Minghella, president of Sony Pictures Animation and Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures.

Audiences everywhere are in for a Smurfy good time as the Smurfs make their first 3D trip to the big screen.  When the evil wizard Gargamel chases the tiny blue Smurfs out of their village, they tumble from their magical world and into ours – in fact, smack dab in the middle of Central Park. Just three apples high and stuck in the Big Apple, the Smurfs must find a way to get back to their village before Gargamel tracks them down.  The film is set for release August 3, 2011.

Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, Sofia Vergara, and Hank Azaria star on camera opposite an all-star voice cast.  Anton Yelchin will play Clumsy Smurf; comedy legend Jonathan Winters, who voiced roles in the “Smurfs” television series, will voice Papa Smurf; Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Katy Perry will play Smurfette; Alan Cumming will play Gutsy Smurf; “SNL’s” Fred Armisen will voice Brainy Smurf; and George Lopez will play Grouchy Smurf.

In the live-action roles, Azaria will play the Smurfs’ nemesis, the evil wizard Gargamel.  Harris and Mays star as an expectant couple whose lives are turned upside down when the Smurfs cross over from their magical village to New York City. Vergara plays Odile, Harris’s boss, a cosmetics executive.

The film is directed by Raja Gosnell.  The screenplay is by J. David Stem & David N. Weiss and Jay Scherick & David Ronn, based on the characters and works of Peyo.  The producer is Jordan Kerner and Ezra Swerdlow, Ben Haber, and Paul Neesan are the executive producers.

Commenting on the announcement, Minghella said, “We’re thrilled with the way our cast has come together. Raja and Jordan and the entire team working on The Smurfs have developed a film with tremendous heart and great comedy and now we have a dream cast to bring the movie to life.”

Adds producer Jordan Kerner, “What a wonderful journey this has been. The time is right for an adventure that will thrill fans and introduce the blue heroes to a new generation, and the technology is here to allow the three-apple-high Smurfs to appear in all their glory on the big screen and in 3D.  Columbia Pictures has been magnificent at every turn in their commitment to get The Smurfs to the screen.  Our partners at Lafig, including Peyo’s daughter Veronique Culliford, have been with us in the creation of the story and characters every step of the way.  It’s a real thrill to begin shooting and working with our compatriots at Sony Pictures Animation. Just wait – the blue invasion is coming!”

Phil Meheux (Edge of Darkness) is the director of photography and the production designer is Bill Boes (Beverly Hills Chihuahua).  Sabrina Plisco (Beverly Hills Chihuahua) is the film’s editor, Maricel Pagulayan (Avatar) is the VFX Producer and Richard R. Hoover (Superman Returns) is the visual effects supervisor, with Sony Pictures Imageworks creating imagery and animation for the magical world of the Smurfs.

About Sony Pictures Animation

Sony Pictures Animation exemplifies the next generation of CGI storytelling to produce a variety of animated entertainment for audiences around the world. Sony Pictures Animation has a full slate of films including the mouth-watering 3D comedy Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which opened as the #1 movie in North America on September 18, Hotel Transylvania, now in pre-production and, in association with Columbia Pictures, The Smurfs, now in production. In 2007, Surf’s Up, was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature and won two Annie Awards. The company’s first film, Open Season, was a box office success and the #2 DVD title of the year for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.  Its sequel, Open Season 2, released in 2009, was an international family hit. Sony Pictures Animation is an operating unit of Sony Pictures Digital Productions.

About the Smurfs

The story of the Smurfs – a property created by Peyo – started in 1958 with the creation of comic books which were later brought to the big screen and on television.  Over the years, the little blue characters haven’t just limited themselves to the page and the screen. They have inspired records and CDs that have sold millions of copies,  entire collections of figurines and toys, and many more products.   In all, more than 3,000 derived products have been produced, leading brands and companies have spread their messages worldwide with the help of the Smurfs.  A multitude of new projects appear regularly, thus making the success of the Smurfs planetary!

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