THE SMURFS 2 (3D)
Genre: 3D Live action / animation
Neil Patrick Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Jayma Mays, Hank Azaria, Katy Perry, Jonathan Winters, Christina Ricci , JB Smoove, George Lopez, Anton Yelchin, John Oliver
Censor certification: U
Running time: 105 mins (1 hour, 45 mins)
In this sequel to the hybrid live action/animated family blockbuster comedy The Smurfs, the evil wizard Gargamel creates a couple of mischievous Smurf-like creatures called the Naughties that he hopes will let him harness the all-powerful, magical Smurf-essence. But when he discovers that only a real Smurf can give him what he wants — and only a secret spell that Smurfette knows can turn the Naughties into real Smurfs — Gargamel kidnaps Smurfette and brings her to Paris, where he has been winning the adoration of millions as the world’s greatest sorcerer. It's up to Papa, Clumsy, Grouchy, and Vanity to return to our world, reunite with their human friends Patrick and Grace Winslow, and rescue her! Will Smurfette, who has always felt different from the other Smurfs, find a new connection with the Naughties Vexy and Hackus – or will the Smurfs convince her that their love for her is True Blue?
In this sequel to Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Animation’s hybrid live action/animated family blockbuster comedy The Smurfs™, the evil wizard Gargamel creates a couple of mischievous Smurf-like creatures called the Naughties that he hopes will let him harness the all-powerful, magical Smurf-essence. But when he discovers that only a real Smurf can give him what he wants, and only a secret spell that Smurfette knows can turn the Naughties into real Smurfs, Gargamel kidnaps Smurfette and brings her to Paris, where he has been winning the adoration of millions as the world’s greatest sorcerer. It’s up to Papa, Clumsy, Grouchy, and Vanity to return to our time, reunite with their human friends Patrick and Grace Winslow, and rescue her! Will Smurfette, who has always felt different from the other Smurfs, find a new connection with the Naughties Vexy and Hackus – or will the Smurfs convince her that their love for her is True Blue? Returning cast includes Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, with Katy Perry as Smurfette and Hank Azaria as Gargamel. Brendan Gleeson joins the cast as Victor. Joining the voice cast are Christina Ricci and JB Smoove as Vexy and Hackus.
Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation present in association with Hemisphere Media Capital a Kerner Entertainment Company production, a film by Raja Gosnell, The Smurfs 2. The film stars Neil Patrick Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Jayma Mays, with Katy Perry as Smurfette and Hank Azaria as Gargamel. Directed by Raja Gosnell. Produced by Jordan Kerner. Based on the characters and works of Peyo. Story by J. David Stem & David N. Weiss & Jay Scherick & David Ronn. Screenplay by J. David Stem & David N. Weiss and Jay Scherick & David Ronn and Karey Kirkpatrick. Executive Producers are Ezra Swerdlow, Ben Haber, and Paul Neesan. Director of Photography is Phil Méheux, BSC. Production Designer is Bill Boes. Editor is Sabrina Plisco, A.C.E. Special Visual Effects by Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc. Visual Effects Supervisor is Richard R. Hoover. Costume Designers are Rita Ryack and Véronique Marchessault. Music by Heitor Pereira.
The Smurfs 2 is rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America for Some Rude Humor and Action. The film will be released in theaters nationwide on July 31, 2013.
ABOUT THE FILM
In Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Animation’s 2011 hit The Smurfs, the world’s favorite three-apple-high heroes proved that fifty years of success in every medium is no accident. Since first appearing in the pages of a Belgian comic book in 1958, Peyo’s Smurfs have entertained children and adults around the world, coming to life in comics, books, television series, films, videogames, live shows, figurines (over 300 million sold)… and, finally, they ruled the world’s box office. The film was truly a global phenomenon, going on to take in over $560 million. “Whether you live in Brazil, or in China, or in Russia, or Paris, or Belgium, or New York… whether they’re los Pitufos, or i Puffi, or les Schtroumpfs… everybody loves the Smurfs,” says producer Jordan Kerner. “With The Smurfs, and now The Smurfs 2, we’re seeking to make films that translate across all geographical boundaries – which fits, because the themes of the Smurfs cross all cultures.”
“These are characters that live in people’s childhoods,” Kerner explains. “They are remembered and revered in the hearts of the generations who saw or read them. So we believed it was our duty to take the characters that the audience knew and loved, and expand them into a present time, from an emotional and a comedic standpoint. Peyo’s daughter and a co-producer on the film Veronique Culliford and I work extremely closely together on the development of the stories – I’m very lucky that we get to work on a second film, because I love the characters, I love to see how they grow and change, and I desperately want to know what’s going to happen to them after the movie’s over. How could you not want to know what happens to Clumsy, Brainy, Grouchy, Papa, Smurfette, and Gargamel – the characters the writers and Raja brought to the screen?”
And what happens is this: where the first film saw our adorable blue friends taking a bite out of the Big Apple, The Smurfs 2 sees them showing off their cosmopolitan appeal with a new adventure that takes them to the City of Light – Paris, France!
“The most exciting thing for me, as a director, is setting this huge adventure all through Paris,” says Raja Gosnell, who directs the film, reprising his role from the first film. “We even got to film places where, to my knowledge, no one has ever filmed before. We were on stage in the Paris Opera House, we shot in the flying buttresses of Notre Dame. Between the great love of the Smurfs and the work that Jordan and our co-producer Raphael Benoliel did with the Paris authorities, we got into places where I thought we’d never get to shoot. What more can a director ask for?”
As the film begins, Smurfette is in the Smurf village, surrounded by her brothers and Papa, but still feeling somewhat alone. After all, she hasn’t quite come to terms with her origins. As everyone knows, Smurfette was created by Gargamel as part of one of his evil schemes – but Papa used love and a magic spell to turn her into a True Blue Smurf. That was all a long time ago, but still… she’s not quite sure about it all. “She starts to ask herself some questions: where does she come from, does she fit in,” says Katy Perry, who voices Smurfette. “In a way, it’s like she’s becoming a teenager, asking the same kinds of questions we all go through when we come of age. She’s really trying to figure out if she’s a real Smurf. She was created by Gargamel, so there’s a bit of naughtiness that’s been subdued for a long, long time. But it’s not about where you came from or who created you; it’s what you choose to be and where you want to go in life.”
“In a way, she thinks of Gargamel as her ‘birth father,’ if you will, and Papa as the man who raised her and nurtured her. So that’s the question – is it nature or nurture?” says Raja Gosnell. “Is she the child of the parent who birthed her – sort of – or the child of the Smurf who raised her?”
These questions come to the fore when Gargamel plots yet another evil scheme to capture the Smurfs. “Gargamel has, in essence, created Smurfette’s ‘brother and sister’ – the Naughties, Hackus and Vexy,” explains Kerner. “They are just like Smurfette, created from a lump of clay. Gargamel wants to turn them into True Blue Smurfs, but only because then he can capture their essence – in fact, if he can find the magic spell that turned Smurfette True Blue, then he could make countless Smurfs and squeeze the essence out of them to become the most powerful wizard the world has ever seen.”
And the only way Gargamel can get that spell is to smurf-nap Smurfette and bring her to Paris. “If there weren’t a bad guy, there would be no need for heroes,” says Gosnell. “So what better bad guy is there than Gargamel? He’s sinister, but goofy. He’s capable of doing dark things, but you just know he’s going to mess it up. It’s so much fun to watch him plot… and plan… and flounder. Amazingly enough, I find myself rooting for Gargamel at times – he’s just so driven and passionate about what he does, and it’s so amusing to watch things go bad for him.”
The job of kidnapping Smurfette is one he tasks to Hackus and Vexy. Since they aren’t True Blue Smurfs, Hackus and Vexy aren’t Smurfs at all: in fact, they’re decidedly naughty, so that’s why Gargamel dubs them: the Naughties. And there’s nothing a Naughty like Vexy would rather do than kidnap her ‘sister,’ Smurfette. “Vexy’s not really bad – she’s misguided,” says Gosnell. “Gargamel is the only parent she’s ever known, so of course all she’s ever learned from him has been less-than-good. She sets out to manipulate Smurfette, to trick her into feeling like she’s bonding with the Naughties, like she’s part of the family. But a funny thing happens along the way and Vexy’s plan has some unintended consequences.”
When word reaches the Village that Smurfette has been kidnapped, Papa doesn’t hesitate, forming a plan to bring her back with the help of the best Smurfs for the job: Gutsy, Brainy, and Hefty. But, of course, a “clumsy” snafu ensures that Papa gets stuck with a “B” team – namely, Vanity, Clumsy, and Grouchy. (As Passive-Aggressive Smurf puts it, “I’m sure narcissism, ineptitude, and pessimism will be just as helpful. Good luck with that.”) That’s OK – Papa’s got one more trick up his sleeve: he’ll call on his old friends, the Winslows, for help once more. Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays return for another adventure with the Smurfs as Patrick and Grace Winslow, and this time, they are joined in the Paris rescue by Patrick’s stepfather, Victor Doyle, played by Brendan Gleeson.
“In the first film, Neil’s character was concerned about the responsibility of having a child – he wanted to be a good father, but was a little nervous about it,” Kerner points out. “In this film, we meet Patrick’s stepfather – and it turns out that Patrick is facing the same nature-versus-nurture questions that are nagging at Smurfette. Patrick has never gotten along with his stepfather, but he comes to see that family is about what you choose it to be. We were glad to be able to make this a deeply felt family movie – and I think that there is a great deal more laughter and emotion in this film.”
Taking the helm of the movie is Raja Gosnell. “Raja is one of the kindest, smartest, most prepared, wonderful people – and as a director, he has a remarkable imagination and a great gift with the actors,” says Kerner. “Not only does he have to direct actors who are playing opposite other actors, but actors who are interacting with a little piece of wire with a dot on it – and, sometimes, he has to direct scenes that have no actors in them at all. It’s very difficult, and of course it takes tremendous planning and discipline. With Raja in charge, every day on a Smurfs set is a revelatory and happy day.”
Gosnell says that his favorite moments in the film are the ones that show off Paris to full effect. “We have a stork flight all through Paris,” he notes. “Smurfette, Vexy, and Hackus are on the run, trying to escape from Azrael. They jump on some storks that are at Tuileries Garden, and they fly – through the giant Ferris Wheel, over the Seine River, through the flying buttresses at Notre Dame, and over a sidewalk café, until they finish by circling the model of the Statue of Liberty that sits in the middle of the Seine. We have another sequence in which the Ferris Wheel breaks off its moorings and actually rolls through the city. There is also a very fun sequence in which Hackus gets loose in a candy store; he makes trouble, and it turns into a big chase – a ride through the streets of Paris on a candy cart. Those sequences were especially fun for us.”
ABOUT THE SMURFS
Feisty SMURFETTE hasn’t been feeling like her sparkly self – it’s her birthday and that always brings reflection. She’s been having some uneasy thoughts that maybe she isn’t really 100% true blue Smurf. True, Gargamel created her, but Papa used magic to make her a real Smurf. So, when Gargamel kidnaps her on the eve of her birthday, and she is introduced to her newly-created siblings, the Naughties, she starts to form a bond. Papa musters a daring rescue, but will she choose the family she knows, or the new family she’s discovered?
Nine-time Grammy Award nominee Katy Perry lends her own nuanced, energetic, and sensitive combination to the voice of Smurfette.
“It was fun to get back into character,” says Perry. “I blocked out a couple of days to prepare for it, because I get into a zone where I really have to turn it on. Smurfette isn’t my normal voice – it’s like my voice and a bag of rocks, with a pinch of sugar.”
Perry says she was gratified by the chance to work in scenes opposite Christina Ricci. “It’s nice to know that she’s playing my evil twin,” says Perry. “I really look up to her, both as a person and as an actress – she’s done so many incredible films.”
“Katy’s performance is amazing, because she’s able to portray both sides of Smurfette – from one moment to the next, she finds the character immediately,” says Kerner. “On the one hand, you have the kittenish, funny, sweet Smurfette character that everyone in Smurf Village embraces. On the other hand, this is a very dramatic story for her character – she’s kidnapped, separated from the Smurfs, and thinks she’s never going to see her family again. All of that sense of abandonment, and loneliness, and fear comes through in Katy’s vocal performance. She’s just revelatory as a comedic actress. She will be a major comedienne in films. Brilliant instincts, inherently funny, and just beautiful.”
PAPA SMURF is, of course, the wise, kind and gentle parent to his 100 children (99 boys and 1 girl), doing his best to make each one feel safe and loved and keep the Village a happy place. When Smurfette is kidnapped by Gargamel, it’s all for Smurf and Smurf for all! Papa loves all his children equally, but can’t deny that the bond with his adopted daughter has always been special. She’s always felt like she doesn’t belong, and even Papa isn’t quite sure how to prove to her that she’s a True Blue Smurf.
The late comedy legend Jonathan Winters is the voice behind the altruistic, gentle and wise Papa Smurf.
Even after a heroic trip to New York City, CLUMSY has not developed any new, graceful moves. That’s OK – he knows that it’s what’s on the inside that counts most. So while he might not seem like an obvious choice for a rescue mission – and in fact, it’s his two left feet that bumble him into the job – he just might be a perfect choice after all.
Anton Yelchin gives voice to the innocent, exuberant Smurf with a heart of gold, Clumsy. He says that coming back into the booth to record the character was as comfortable as wrapping oneself in a warm blanket. “We had already done the hard work, on the first film, of figuring out what the character was going to be, what he was going to sound like, so I could just enjoy myself,” says Yelchin. “The second time around, I was used to the way it works – in animation, lines can change, animation can change, and that gives you a freedom in the booth.”
“The first film was about Clumsy discovering that he doesn’t always have to just be clumsy; he can be heroic, too,” Yelchin continues. “I think this film builds on that – he’s still doing everything that got him the name Clumsy in the first place, but now, he thinks of himself as a hero, too – it’s fun to play with that idea. I enjoy playing Clumsy because he’s so much fun – he’s very sensitive and tender, but also very funny and silly. And did I mention he’s a hero? He’d be very upset with me if I didn’t mention that.”
GROUCHY has always been the Smurf to see a dark cloud in any silver lining and going on another rescue mission really ticks him off! But that’s all about to change. In a fit of negativity, he looks for inspiration. He’ll proudly rename himself Positive Smurf! (Really?) With his glass now half-full, he discovers how much an upbeat attitude can contribute – but will the sunny disposition hold up when the Smurfing gets tough?
George Lopez is the voice that captures all of Grouchy’s irascible personality.
“Everybody loves a curmudgeon,” says Lopez. “The rest of the Smurfs are all so happy, so it’s fun to see one Smurf try to throw the others under a bus. Even when he complains, you still love him. But in this movie, he gets tired of that. He’s going to try to be positive. It doesn’t work out for him, but he’s trying.”
“There are very few characters that are known all over the world like the Smurfs are. How many people get to be a part of something like that?” he continues.
Meet VANITY, definitely the most handsome guy in the Village – as he’d be the first to tell you. Sure, he’s got charm and looks, but as far as being a valuable member of a search-and-rescue team, the only place you’ll find him looking is in a mirror. Even so, Vanity might just surprise you by revealing an inner depth and courage at a time when it’s needed the most. Or not.
English comedian and star reporter for “The Daily Show” John Oliver provides the voice that puts the panache in Vanity.
“Vanity’s role begins and ends with himself, so there’s no real interaction between Vanity and his immediate surroundings – unless those surroundings are reflective,” says Oliver. “He’s the star of his own world. His first and only skill is narcissism – but if that can help save someone, that’s great.
”Playing anyone that selfish is appealing,” Oliver continues. “The first thing you’re taught as a child is not to be selfish, to share things, to be nice to other people. And Vanity kicks against all of that. To him, no one is as good as he is. That’s quite fun to mess around with – the idea that spectacular things can happen all around you, and all of it is less impressive than your own face.”
“I’m British, which, by extension, makes me European, so the Smurfs were an iconic part of my childhood,” says the actor. “It wasn’t something you needed to seek out – it was just there all the time. They were a predominant cultural force – these strange, blue, Belgian creatures.”
The film is also packed with cameo roles, ranging from Shaquille O’Neal (Smooth Smurf) to Jimmy Kimmel (Passive-Aggressive Smurf) to Sean White (Clueless Smurf) to Mario Lopez (Social Smurf) to Kevin Lee (Party Planner Smurf) to Mario Lopez (Social Smurf).
He’s back and out for blue! Unbelievably enough, the repulsive and nasty GARGAMEL is now a global superstar, admired by countless fans who find his Parisian magic stage show astounding and his “evil wizard” act charming. Regardless of all the fame and fortune, he still desperately seeks what he really wants – to be the most powerful conjurer in the world and capture the Smurfs to extract their essence! Creating the Naughties and kidnapping Smurfette is just the beginning of a dastardly plan that might be his ticket to power.
Hank Azaria once again steps into the madness of this wicked wizard. “He’s a miserable, angry, sad person, and the Smurfs are so happy that he takes it personally,” says Azaria. “He hates them for how happy they are. And, because he’s an evil wizard who is obsessed with Smurfs, he naturally concludes that they are all that is standing in his way from becoming the world’s most powerful wizard.”
For Azaria, revisiting Gargamel is sweeter the second time around. “It was easier this time. It’s such a weird character that it made me nervous the first time,” recalls Azaria. “I have to credit Jordan Kerner; he really wanted to make sure the character stayed medieval and antiquated, and Raja Gosnell wanted to make sure that he was heightened and always passionate and crazy. Now, Raja and I have a good shorthand with each other, what we want to try and what we want to do – it’s very pleasant, it’s a really fun job, coming to work and making these little creatures come to life every day.”
In fact, for Azaria, playing Gargamel is like no other role. “It is like being in another world. It really is odd,” describes Azaria. “The experience of making the movie is a little bit insane, since I’m mostly yelling at, screaming at, and chasing nothing – except on the occasions when they bring in a real cat.”
And ah, that cat. Azrael – the only “special someone” in Gargamel’s life. “I think it’s really funny that he has this intensely intimate relationship with a cat that is smarter than him,” says Azaria. “The cat knows better than he does, and when the cat meows he can tell what the cat is saying. I find that amusing.”
“Azrael really is smarter than Gargamel,” says Gosnell. “And the cat lets him know at every turn.”
“They are essentially an old, annoyed at each other married couple, and the romance has gone out of their relationship,” adds Azaria. “Every film, I try to get in the line, ‘Why did I ever marry you?’, saying it to the cat, but they never really keep it in there; one day, if we keep making these movies, one day I’ll be able to say that.”
“The relationship between Gargamel and Azrael was very much Hank’s creation,” says Gosnell. “Hank really didn’t want to be monologuing the whole movie – it was better for him to have a character he could bounce back and forth with, even if it is a cat.”
Kerner says that realizing the character of Azrael meant walking a fine line. “Azrael definitely has a voice, but isn’t a talking animal,” he says. “Azrael can say ‘meow,’ and Hank, as Gargamel, can reply with, ‘Why are you angry with me, because we left Paris?’ Meow means 10 million things to Gargamel.” On camera, the cats Cheeto and Krinkle, along with a few other hero tabbies, did most of the heavy lifting as Azrael; for his facial performance and scenes requiring a fully animated cat, the filmmakers call on Sony Pictures Imageworks for the CG cat. Voice actor Frank Welker gave the tricky kitty his meow.
It’s said that the clothes make the man – and surely that was never more true than about Gargamel. Azaria spent hours in the makeup chair every morning to help get him into character. “The overall look with his head being shaved, the teeth, the hair and everything, it changes him so much,” says makeup effects department head Todd Tucker. “When he gets into that makeup, he can’t help but go into Gargamel zone.”
“The wardrobe gives him a padded belly and back, his posture changes, he hunches over for the character,” adds Tucker. “His whole body movement, everything about him changes pretty drastically, so it’s a very different character than Hank is for sure.”
“As soon as Hank steps out in makeup and hair, he completely inhabits the role. He becomes Gargamel,” says Kerner. “It’s in his posture, it’s in the way he carries himself, it’s how he modulates his voice. He puts up with all the makeup, he puts up with shaving his head completely bald, he puts up with the big teeth we put in his mouth, and he’s having so much fun doing it that he’ll immediately give you ten variations on his performance.”
It takes about two hours, all told, to turn an actor into an evil wizard – about 90 minutes of makeup, followed by 20 to 30 minutes of hair.
As might be fitting, Gargamel’s robe gets a makeover for The Smurfs 2 – one deserved by the toast of Paris. “We changed the lining of the cape, making it red,” explains Montreal costume designer Véronique Marchessault. “It also had to be kind of magical, because at one point he’s in his robe, and then, seconds later, the squirrel wings appear.” Gargamel uses those wings to fly off of the Eiffel Tower into the portal he conjures at the Trocadero Fountain.
Playing Gargamel in the Smurfs films has been a virtual rediscovery of Azaria’s childhood imagination. “You get to play like you’re a child; you’re imagining these little creatures. I had three imaginary friends when I was a kid, and I would spend a lot of time with them,” says Azaria. “It’s like I’m doing that again, only I’m a little more angry at these imaginary friends than the ones I grew up with. I’m playing with a pretend cat, pretending to do magic, and waving a magic wand, and then somebody makes a light effect happen. When you’re a kid, you always dreamed you could do things like that, and then you get to do it as an adult, and then they pay you – it’s pretty nice.”
ABOUT THE NAUGHTIES
When it comes to destroying the Smurfs, you can see Gargamel’s train of thought: if you can’t beat ‘em, make ‘em. After all, he did it before: take clay and just add wizardry. “Smurfette started as a lump of clay that Gargamel dropped into his cauldron and brought to life, so that she could infiltrate Smurf Village. But Papa Smurf saw the good in her, and used a magic spell to turn her into a True Blue Smurf,” says Gosnell. “So now, Gargamel has created the Naughties, Vexy and Hackus, and all he needs is Papa’s secret magic spell to turn his Naughties into ‘real Smurfs’ and have unlimited Smurf essence.”
In creating the Smurf-like characters, Kerner went the extra mile to make sure that Vexy and Hackus would fit squarely into the Smurfs universe. “Every step of the way on the Smurfs movies, we work very closely with Peyo’s daughter Veronique Culliford and Smurfs historian Tom Cosijn to make sure we are getting it right – in script development, production, all the way through the release of the films. And that went double as we created the Naughties,” he says. “The neutral color gray was their desire, as Peyo didn’t want the Smurfs ever associated with any particular human color. Peyo created this world – as we expanded what he built, we felt a duty to respect and honor what came before.”
VEXY is the sister that Smurfette never had -- until now. But unlike Smurfette, she’s not as nice; she’s determined to be Naughty and do Gargamel’s bidding. It’s not easy having a dad like Gargamel – Vexy has grown up to be tough, devious, and very persistent in bringing Smurfette to the naughty side… but when she meets Smurfette, it turns out that Vexy may not be as Naughty as she thinks.
“Vexy is smart and mischievous and has lots of attitude. Attitude to spare,” says Gosnell. “And she really does want to please her father.”
Christina Ricci infuses the voice of Vexy with sarcasm and sauciness. “When we thought about casting Vexy, we thought about the fact that she’s Smurfette’s ‘sister,’” says Kerner. “Sure, one’s blonde and the other’s brunette; one’s a perfect Smurf, the other is rough around the edges, but we wanted the voices to feel like they were two of a kind. And the voice that stood out for us was Christina’s. She brings a great sense of humor, an articulate, clear voice, and a deeply raspy laugh that is a cousin to Katy Perry’s performance as Smurfette. She’s great at playing naughty, bringing a fun, ironic, tongue-firmly-in-cheek vocal quality. She and Katy really raised each other’s game.”
Ricci says that Vexy and Hackus are just looking for the same thing any child needs. “They don’t have a family and love,” she says. “They’re not really bad – they’re just lonely kids. When they kidnap Smurfette, that’s just their way to try to get their ‘father’s’ love. But at the same time, I like that I got to play naughty.”
“In a strange way, voice work gives you so much freedom as an actor,” says Ricci. “As you work on one line, and the quality of your voice, and fine-tuning single syllables, over and over, you can dissect and pick apart and change little things and make it your own. It’s amazing to me how much fun that is.”
Of course, Vexy is just one-half of Gargamel’s dastardly plan. “Vexy is the brains of the operation,” says Kerner. “And her brother, Hackus, is the unbridled enthusiasm and brawn.”
HACKUS is a lovable, sweet, hyperactive loose cannon easily influenced by his Naughty sister, Vexy. He’s a bit berserk, sweet to the core, a cyclone of energy, and is a Naughty of few words—very few, in fact.
Curb Your Enthusiasm’s JB Smoove is the voice behind the misbehaving Hackus.
“I was a big Smurfs fan growing up,” says Smoove. “This was in the days that you’d have to wake up before your brother if you wanted to control the TV on Saturday morning. So when they called me to play Hackus, I jumped at the opportunity – I’m part of Smurf history now. I’ve done voiceover work for other animated shows, but nothing like this.”
Describing his character, he says, “He’s like an experiment gone wrong. Hackus loves to have fun and loves being naughty. Vexy and Hackus play tricks on Azrael, they play tricks on Gargamel, they play tricks on each other. He’s enthusiastic, happy, playful, curious, fun, and overwhelming. He’s Hackus. Hackus Hackus Hackus!”
“Because of his enthusiasm, Hackus speaks sometimes in shortened sentences,” says Kerner. “We needed someone who was a real voice artist, so we listened to many, many, many voices of different actors who could use their voice as an instrument, rather than simply a means of performance. The thing that convinced us about JB was that he – not unlike Hackus himself – is a ball of energy.”
The actor says that he can see why the filmmakers thought of him for the hyperactive Hackus. “I’m very good at raising my voice and laughing really loud,” he says. “Also, when you’re doing voiceover work, you have to add action to it – physical action. You have to be physical with it, because that’s the only way to dive into the character – if you just do the voice, it’s not projected the right way. Raja and Jordan gave me a lot of freedom to dive in there and have a good time with the character.”
ABOUT THE HUMAN BEINGS
Three years have passed since Patrick and Grace Winslow last saw their blue buddies. But when the Naughties kidnap Smurfette and bring her to Paris, the Winslows get a visit from Papa, Clumsy, Grouchy and Vanity – the Smurfs will need their human friends to save Smurfette from their arch-nemesis.
You’d think with PATRICK WINSLOW having a few years ago become a father to a son, Blue, he’d calm down, go with the flow a little bit more. Well, he might have, had he resolved his issues with his own stepfather, Victor Doyle. The two have butted heads for decades – while Patrick remembers his childhood one way, it’s never crossed his mind that Victor might have a distinctly different perspective. However, once the Smurfs recruit the Winslows (and Victor!) to take part in the rescue mission, all of those feelings are exposed when their attention should be on saving Smurfette.
As a father in his own right, Neil Patrick Harris, identifies with his character, Patrick Winslow. Being a part of the Smurfs franchise gives Harris the opportunity to share the experience with his family. “I’m a dad,” says Harris. “I really enjoyed making the first Smurfs and I was really proud of the end result. Now that I’m a family guy myself, I think it’s good to have roles in movies that are age appropriate for them to see, so it’s nice to be a part of The Smurfs.”
Harris sees Patrick’s and Smurfette’s story as a parallel journey towards family. “The story goes right to the history of Smurfette’s existence. It makes her question who her family is, who to trust, and where she’s from,” explains Harris. “That becomes the overriding question for all of us in our various ways within the movie.”
In The Smurfs 2, as Smurfette deals with her unresolved feelings toward her origins, so too will Patrick Winslow have to address his own relationship with Victor Doyle, the man who raised him. “Patrick’s father had left when he was very young, four or five, and his stepfather, Victor, moved in with him and his mother. They never got along, for a number of reasons,” says Harris. “And so, when Victor comes and joins the adventure, Patrick is having the same kind of internal struggle. He doesn’t feel like he’s Victor’s son, and he doesn’t really want Victor to be around. But Patrick learns through the process of this adventure with the Smurfs that your family is more about who you love and who loves you, and less about where you actually come from. That’s a great lesson for everyone to remember, if not learn for the first time.”
Patrick’s and Victor’s relationship may be like oil and water, but Harris had great chemistry with Brendan Gleeson. “He was just a terrific choice, because he’s able to be over the top, and yet very grounded in a sense of reality,” says Harris. “What could be a buffoon of a role, he makes it an actual person. Acting against him is terrific.”
In Jayma Mays, Harris could not have asked for a more perfect choice to portray Grace. “I’m a big, big fan of Jayma Mays. She’s just a bright light of adorableness, she’s smart, she’s so sharp, she’s beautiful, she’s funny, she’s just the perfect choice for the heroine in this type of movie,” says Harris. “We can have banter in the movie that seems like we’ve been a couple for a long time.”
GRACE WINSLOW’s warm, maternal instincts helped her forge a bond with the Smurfs during their previous visit to New York – especially with Smurfette, who she regards as a ‘sister.’ So, of course, Grace has no intention of sitting idly by while her sister is manipulated into participating in one of Gargamel’s horrid plans for destroying the Smurfs! Snapping up her adorable son (named in a loving tribute to the Smurfs), BLUE WINSLOW, she informs her husband that her sister is in trouble, and they are going to help—NOW!
Jayma Mays grew up with a Smurf-obsessed mom. “She was a huge fan. She forced me to watch the Smurfs,” recalls Mays. “When I was growing up, every Saturday morning, I would come downstairs thinking, ‘Oh, it’s my morning, it’s cartoon morning, and I can watch what I want.’ No, mom wanted to watch the Smurfs.”
A first-time mom, Grace’s relationship with the Smurfs has made her a better mother. “They have just had their first child, appropriately named Blue Winslow. She’s learning about parenting,” explains Mays. “I feel like Grace is probably the most grounded character. She’s a good mom. She cares about family. I think that’s why she loves the Smurfs so much – I feel like her mothering instincts kicked in when she met the Smurfs, because they’re these adorable wonderful creatures.”
For Mays, it’s especially gratifying to work opposite Neil Patrick Harris. “Working with Neil is fantastic. He’s everything that you assume that he would be. He’s wonderful, fun and caring. He’s as much fun off the set as he is on the set,” says Mays. “He comes in with amazing ideas; you can tell he really thinks about what he’s doing. He’s also so good at making a scene feel real and talking through things to make sure everything makes sense. It’s wonderful to be able to work with him.”
From Mays’ point of view, the Smurfs’ cross-generational appeal stems from its unique combination of light-hearted fun and uplifting, family-friendly life lessons. “They’re popular because they have such a good message,” explains Mays. “There aren’t a lot of family cartoons anymore where you can sit down as a family, watch, and actually learn something or gain something. Especially one that has such good, moral family tales as this, that is also funny and light.”
“I also feel that for kids, there’s always a Smurf to identify with,” adds Mays. “Whether you feel Jokey one day, or Grouchy or Clumsy another day, those specific identities are something that kids in particular can relate with, and I think just all those things combined, make them popular, desirable, and pleasing to watch.”
VICTOR DOYLE is an affable, disorganized, and big-hearted mess – just the opposite of his son (step-son!), Patrick Winslow. It seems that no matter what Victor’s intention is, his action turns out to be the wrong one, at least in Patrick’s eyes. The gulf is too wide for these two to ever get together… until they are forced to put all of that aside to help save Smurfette.
A newcomer to the Smurf franchise, Brendan Gleeson says, “I feel privileged to be part of something that opens that whole world up,” says Gleeson. “Being part of a world that is magical, young, optimistic, slightly complicated and fun is exciting.”
Gleeson plays the overly talkative, overbearing, but big-hearted Victor Doyle, the bumbling Korndog King. “Victor’s larger than life, and he embraces the world in a very wholesome kind of a way,” says Gleeson. “He actually believes that he makes the best corn dogs in the history of the world.”
“He’s got a very big heart. He fills the space in a room,” adds Gleeson. “What made me really like him was that he could do the tough love business, too, and he could take a few hits if it meant that Patrick could work his way through a difficult time.”
A dad himself, it’s a role that Gleeson identifies with – a parent’s unending patience for his children, whether by birth or otherwise. “Fatherhood is the best thing that ever happened to me in my own life, I know that,” states Gleeson. “For stepfathers, it’s a bit of a challenge about where they should fit in, particularly when you don’t have the old style nuclear family. But this film is really about love that is unconditional – it doesn’t have to be the way that most people see as ‘normal.’ It doesn’t have to be anything other than the fact that people care about each other, and I think that’s really valuable.”
But truth be told, there was one reason above all that sold Gleeson on the role. “This is one of the great reasons I did the film: I liked the character, of course, but how many times do you get to turn into a duck?” says Gleeson. “I’ll tell you: not very often. I couldn’t pass up the chance to explore my inner mallard.”
As for Harris, whose character interacts with Victor in this transformed state, the duck stole every scene. “They’re surprisingly good. They bat at things with their beak. They’re funny, they’ll sit there forever,” says Harris. “I’ll have a scene where I’m supposed to talk with the duck, and the duck will wag its mouth at me, shake its head, and everyone keeps laughing.”
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
“I love doing these movies, because there are so many moving parts,” says Raja Gosnell of his work on The Smurfs 2. “You walk onto an empty set and you think, ‘There’s a Smurf, and he’s going to walk over to that other Smurf, touch him on the shoulder. You have to get a close-up of a Smurf who’s not there, reacting to the Smurf who’s not there.’ We took the same approach as the first film: we photograph the world as if there will be a Smurf there. I imagine all the Smurf action, I stage all the Smurf action, we use puppets to act it out, and then we take out the puppets to photograph the world, adding the Smurfs in later.”
One of the keys to pulling off The Smurfs 2 was reuniting the key behind-the-scenes personnel from the first film: not only Kerner and Gosnell, but executive producer Ezra Swerdlow, director of photography Phil Méheux, BSC, production designer Bill Boes, editor Sabrina Plisco, A.C.E., costume designer Rita Ryack, composer Heitor Pereira, and visual effects supervisor Richard R. Hoover, leading a team at Sony Pictures Imageworks. “In doing this movie, it’s not only a reunion of the characters we know and love, but also a reunion of the people who’s worked together and trust each other. It’s like a family, or summer camp, when we get together,” says Kerner.
One of the main advantages of bringing the band back together was that most of the challenges in making a hybrid CG/live-action film had been addressed. “The technical process of learning how to put the Smurfs into a live action setting got worked out on the first movie,” explains executive producer Ezra Swerdlow. “The production learned from visual effects what they need, and built that into the movie – their lighting requirements, the things they need to scan and record, and just how much data they need to put the Smurfs realistically in a live action movie.”
This new adventure pays homage to the European roots of the Smurfs, setting the story in Paris and integrating many of the city’s iconic landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, the Palais Garnier (Paris Opera House), the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Seine River, Trocadero Fountain, the Hotel Plaza Athenee, and the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Interiors were shot on soundstages in Montreal. In order to create the design of these elaborate sets, the filmmakers brought back production designer Bill Boes, who previously worked with Gosnell on five of his other movies. Boes and Gosnell worked together ensure that the sequel remained consistent with the first film, but at the same time, injected an authentic design for the Paris setting. “We wanted to incorporate the Paris aesthetic into the set design,” explains Boes. “Paris used to be the artistic capital of the world, so we wanted to showcase the art of Paris and the beauty of Paris.”
“One of the things that I equate Paris with is Art Nouveau, which is a movement that started at the turn of the century, and it’s beautiful. It’s taking nature and turning it into architecture,” continues Boes. “I sold Raja and Jordan on an Art Nouveau style penthouse and they went for it, we did it, and I love it.”
Gargamel is a centuries-old wizard transplanted to the 21st century. Therefore, Boes had to marry both of these periods to give the set designs a distinctive Gargamelian flavor.
Gargamel’s mode of transportation is a tricked-out horse-drawn carriage. “The only actual working carriage resides in Paris, so we needed to build the interior of it on stage in Montreal,” says Boes. “Then, we enlarged it and elaborated on it – as soon as Gargamel and Azrael get into the carriage, they hit a button, a stereo is revealed, a TV monitor is revealed, snacks are revealed, and the music starts. It is very Gargamelian.”
Gargamel performs his live show at the famed Paris Opera House, The Palais Garnier. Boes decided the design should be a reflection of Gargamel’s mystique. “We were there for two days, to film the audience’s reaction and capture the grandeur of the Opera House,” says Boes. Production received all access to the exquisite building, including a visit to the private beehive located on the rooftop – which is rumored to provide the best honey in all of France.
Where the first film had Gargamel jury-rigging a Smurf-a-lator out of trash and found objects, he’s gone one better in The Smurfs 2 with his Smurfstractor. For this invention, the filmmakers wanted something with a contemporary, futuristic concept. “Raja and Jordan wanted me to go for more of a Matrix-esque type of machine which is sort of an atomic powered version of the Smurf-a-lator,” says Boes. “Take old sci-fi, add in new sci-fi, throw in like a little nuclear reactor, and you’ve got a Smurfstractor.”
For Boes, the most challenging aspect to the conceptualization process is factoring in the movement of the Smurfs. “There’s a certain set of rules that everybody knows now, when we look at locations – we’re immediately asking, where are the Smurfs going to go, how are they going to get up to eye level so the actors can talk with them,” explains Boes. “We designed the lair set with a network of pipes on the walls, so the Smurfs can easily climb up, jump over, and get to where Raja wants them to be to interact with the actors.”
With the prominence of Smurf blue throughout the film, Boes needed a color palette that would pose a contrast. “We learned on the first movie that warm colors are a good complimentary color with the blue Smurfs,” recalls Boes. “I like to keep the colors warm, so the Smurfs really pop.”
The pop-up book in the opening sequence of the film was a separate challenge – and surprisingly, one of the greatest that the filmmakers would face. “The pop-up book was a specific thing on its own; it had a separate crew,” describes supervising art director Michèle Laliberté. “An architect came to work with us to engineer all the folding and unfolding of the various elements of the book. Then, an illustrator came in and made these amazing illustrations of the story book along with graphic artists who came to help and print it.”
“It was a very technical object and we worked on that for months,” adds Laliberté. “We’re really proud of what it looks like; it’s a very beautiful book with leather binding.”
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHY
The film’s director of photography, Phil Méheux, BSC, made a key change that would affect the way the audience saw the film: a new camera. “On the first film, we learned that if the Smurfs are all going to be in focus within a certain shot, we need more depth of field, and that means more light or more sensitivity from the camera,” explains Méheux.
To capture as much light as possible – and allow the filmmakers the greatest depth of field – the filmmakers shot with the new Sony F65 camera. The camera’s state-of-the-art image sensor offers a higher image fidelity than any other digital cinema production camera.
“I light the Smurfs even though they don’t appear. What I do is light specially made Smurf character models, accurate in size and shape,” explains Méheux. “There is a camera which captures HDRI and measures the lights, what direction it’s coming from, and what value it is, so they can replicate that in the computer.”
Once again, lighting the Smurfs was informed by the lessons from the first film. “We have to shoot a lot of sequences and pieces where the Smurfs appear to be moving things, so we’ve learned new ways of animating objects,” explains Méheux. “We know what’s coming. We know how best to deal with it, and whether it’s worth doing. For instance, in lighting the Smurfs, if a Smurf is in a place where I can’t get the light at him, I would give the heads up to the visual effects supervisor: the light there is not exactly how it is, you will need to create the light for that. And he makes a note.”
Before filming a scene, Méheux and the filmmakers relied on actors to portray the Smurfs. “When we deal with the Smurfs in any particular scene, we have two voices that play all the characters for us,” explains Méheux. “We have little models with moveable heads and arms, so we actually animate them and act out the scene, so that we can get the atmosphere of the scene.”
Actors Sean Kenin and Patricia Summersett, who filled in for the Smurfs in these rehearsals, were instrumental in incorporating the use of puppets into the filmmaking process. “On the last movie, we were just voices,” says Kenin. “But I thought we could be of more help by puppeting the characters around, so Raja could look at the shot, and he agreed.”
“We work closely with Raja to give the puppets life,” continues Kenin. “When they’re walking somewhere or interacting with each other, they have heads and arms that move that we can play with to give them a little bit of a life, rather than just sticking a thing in a frame and taking it out.”
But in addition to being particularly helpful with the lighting challenges, the Sony F65 camera also allowed the filmmakers greater flexibility artistically. “One of the big advantages of making a movie with animated characters is that you’re not locked in to what you captured in principal photography – on a 100% purely animated film, they are constantly tweaking, changing jokes, changing animation, sometimes right up until they lock the picture. The challenge with our movie is that it’s a hybrid of live-action and animation – we have to give the animators that flexibility, but, as we discovered on the first film, they were often hindered by a camera movement that had been locked in months earlier when we shot the movie. So this time, the question became, how do we solve that? How do we let the animators change the action after we shot it?”
The answer was the F65. “Since the camera shoots a 4K image, we were able to compose a frame-within-the frame: we captured a larger image than we intended to use, and we had more room to move the frame around in the captured area,” says Richard R. Hoover, the film’s visual effects supervisor. “In other words, we built a 10% pad into every shot we did, allowing us in post-production to blow up, reframe, and move the camera around. It worked out great for us.”
As certain interiors were reproduced and shot on soundstages in Montreal, Méheux’s photography would have to sell the idea that the two locations were one place. “If you’re recreating a real location indoors, you try and capture the light,” says Méheux. “I made notes on what everything looks like, how they light the Eiffel Tower, the Trocadero Fountain that’s in front of it, and when I recreated those elements in the studio, I had notes, photographs and memories from our location scout.”
Of course, nothing matches filming in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. “Who wouldn’t want the job of capturing the beauty of Paris?” he says. In addition, the fact that the movie is a big, bright comedy was attractive to the cinematographer, who is best-known for his work on action films like Casino Royale, for which he was honored by his peers, the British Society of Cinematographers, with their award for Best Cinematography. “I like doing films for the whole family,” he says. “This is a change for me. It’s amusing, it’s fun, and I get to do attractive photography as opposed to hard-edged photography.”
Which is not to say that there isn’t plenty of action in the movie. For the film’s central sequence – a stork ride above the city – the filmmakers called upon a number of techniques. “We were able to fly the cameras in Tuileries Park, around the Ferris Wheel, and around the model of the Statue of Liberty,” says Gosnell. “But, as you can imagine, we looked for something a little safer when it came to some of the other parts of the sequence, like the flying buttresses. For those, we used a Steadicam – a man walking through, doing the flying motions, and we sped it up. It’s old-school, but it still works perfectly. For other shots, we used cranes or camera cars – every shot had a slightly different approach.”
ABOUT THE CHARACTER ANIMATION AND VISUAL EFFECTS
For the film’s visual effects supervisor, Richard R. Hoover, the production was like a game with numerous moving parts. “There are a lot of pieces, it’s like a jigsaw puzzle,” he says. “For example, we shot plates and green screen in Montreal, and later, we shot live-action for the same shot in Paris. And, of course, it all has to fit together. This movie is much more complicated than the first one, both in shooting and in how many places we need to go in order to make the whole movie come together. Last time, we were getting to know the characters, and this time they’re involved in their environment and things they need to do. There’s a lot more action.”
Even with the additional location hurdles, the goal of the visual effects team is to make the Smurfs realistic: living and breathing entities with emotions. “My hope always is that the visual effects are seamless, that they look just like the live-action shots,” says Hoover. “The principle of the Smurfs, as a rule, is that we’re trying to ground them in reality, trying to make the audience believe that they exist in our world that the physics in our world work on them as well.”
Achieving that is a curious blend of the technical and the artistic. “The Smurfs have hearts and souls – they feel an emotion, just like we do,” continues Hoover. “Part of that comes through in the way the animators will portray the characters, of course, but it also comes through in the way we shoot things: how fast we move the camera that gives a realistic speed to the characters, how far they jump, or run. They still have to behave within the rules of our world.”
Of course, the other part of the equation is performance, as Sony Pictures Imageworks animation supervisor Sebastian Kapijimpanga explains. “We add a lot of detail and nuance to the facial performances,” he says. “That way, we can make a performance very layered and realistic. That’s especially true with Smurfette, since this story is really about her – there’s a lot of subtlety to the performance, and the character has a bigger range than she did in the first film. She has some extremely subtle moments, all the way up to the joyful expressions as we’re used to seeing them.”
Similarly to Boes and Méheux, Hoover’s experience on the first film provided valuable insight in ways to improve visual effects techniques and methodology. “We worked out a lot of methods in how to shoot the Smurfs, and make them be in our world, interacting with real objects, parts and landscape,” states Hoover. “Last time around, I think it was something of a surprise to everyone how well close-ups worked – close-ups are great, because you get to see all the detail in the Smurf’s face and the character really comes through. So, this time, Raja was excited that he could do more of that.”
Another visual effects improvement from the first film pertained to the development of tools to perfect the actor’s eye line. “What we found last time is it’s very difficult for the actors to look at the right place and follow the Smurf action,” explains Hoover. “We can put eye markers on the walls, but their eyes actually converge on the spot differently.”
To truly make the eyelines match, the high-tech VFX expert says, he found a decidedly low-tech solution. “I used some bailing wire on a little stand with a little red dot on it that we could place it in the scene,” he says. “It was fairly easy to remove later and the actors got a very accurate mark as to where their eyes are.”
In order to maintain the authenticity of Paris and the Smurfs, many of the big action sequences required pre-vis effects, particularly the climatic run-away Ferris wheel scene. “It’s quite difficult to shoot, because how do you get a 150-200 foot Ferris wheel to roll down the street?” says Hoover. “We could build in all the effects, but we didn’t want to do that – we wanted to shoot Paris for Paris and shoot a real Ferris wheel as much as we could, and that presented quite a few challenges, both in tools and methodology and how to do it.”
The sequence involved a number of different techniques to pull off. “We’re using the real wheel until it breaks loose from the surrounding structure,” says Hoover. Then the sequence moves into visual effects: “We built a matching CG version of the wheel. We shot plates in the Tuileries Garden and other Paris locations, and did compositions of the wheel rolling through.”
For one shot – with the camera looking at Gargamel, Hackus, Vexy, and Smurfette in the car and the audience riding along with the car – the filmmakers put a 50-foot camera crane onto a car hauler, then swung the crane’s arm up and down to give the impression that the wheel was rolling. Most shots, though, were accomplished with green screen – the filmmakers used an array of cameras to create a 360-degree environment inside the car as well as a 180-degree environment of the world of Paris outside the car window, then matched that footage with green screen images of Azaria as Gargamel, which they captured in Montreal.
Also returning to The Smurfs 2 were an army of artists from Sony Pictures Imageworks to create the CG character animation. They were responsible for all of the character work – the Smurfs, the Naughties, Azrael the cat, and the duck.
“All of the characters that we worked with on the first film had been established,” notes the animation supervisor on The Smurfs 2, Sebastian Kapijimpanga. “Developing the new characters – the Naughties, Vexy and Hackus – was a process of discovery.”
“I think we all had different pictures in our heads of what the Naughties would look like,” says Gosnell. “They’re not Smurfs, but they would have to be Smurfy – some version of the Smurf hat, some version of the Smurf pants. Our basic starting point was the idea that these are children of a neglectful father, Gargamel, so we liked the idea that they had found their own clothes. The most important thing, of course, was that they couldn’t be blue, because that’s Gargamel’s whole quest – to turn them into True Blue Smurfs. So they’re grey, since they were created from a lump of clay, though we did give them blue freckles, just to give you a sense that yes, there’s a Smurf inside there.”
“For Vexy, we wanted to make her look a little like a Smurf in certain ways, but quite distinctive in terms of color choices and her style – she has a ‘found wardrobe’ of clothes she found all over the city,” Gosnell continues. “Hackus is just an enthusiastic ball of energy. He loves his sister, loves to be loved, but he’s got a bit of the devil in him – he likes to get himself into trouble.”
“Hackus’s proportions are a little bit different than the other Smurfs’,” says Kapijimpanga. “That required us to do a lot of experimentation with different animation approaches to discover how he moves. Vexy looks more like the other Smurfs in terms of her proportions, but the differences come through in character performance. She’s mischievous and certainly up to no good. It’s a lot of fun to animate a character coming from that place.”
The Smurfs 2 also called for Kapijimpanga’s team to animate a photo-real cat (Azrael) and duck (Victor, once Gargamel’s had his way). “In the last few years, it’s gotten harder to tell CG from real,” says Kapijimpanga. “We’re at the point that I think the average person – my mom, say – wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a real duck and our duck.” Kapijimpanga’s team was responsible for a wide range of animation, from facial replacement to expressive gestures to building an entirely CG duck.
For the cat, he says, “It starts with looking at reference of real animals, of course. We have to start with the elements that make a cat’s movements realistic. But we do have to add a bit of performance on top of that – some expressiveness in the faces and a broad range of movement. We push it to the point that it’s comedic, but not so much that it takes you out of the film and you stop believing that it’s a real cat. It’s tricky.”
ABOUT THE CAST
NEIL PATRICK HARRIS (Patrick) can currently be seen as the womanizing Barney Stinson in the hit CBS comedy series, “How I Met Your Mother,” a role which has garnered him multiple Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominations, as well as two People’s Choice Awards for Favorite TV Comedy Actor, and a Critics’ Choice Award for Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. In 2010, Harris won his first two Emmy Awards for his guest-starring turn in the critically-acclaimed series, “Glee,” in addition to his role as host of the 63rd Annual Tony Awards. Harris also served as host and producer of the 65th and 66th Annual Tony Awards, winning his third Emmy Award for the former, and the 61st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Named one of the 2008 Entertainers of the Year by Entertainment Weekly, Harris was included on Time Magazine’s 2010 Time 100 List, an annual list of the world’s leading thinkers, leaders, artists, and heroes.
Harris gained notoriety on the small screen as the much-adored title character in “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” a role which also garnered him a Golden Globe nomination. Created by Steven Bochco and David E. Kelley, the television comedy-drama ran for four seasons and told the story of a brilliant, young doctor who faced the problems of being a normal teenager. Among Harris’ additional television credits include the NBC comedy series, “Stark Raving Mad,” opposite Tony Shalhoub; the CBS mini-series “Joan of Arc,” with Leelee Sobieski & Peter O’Toole; Showtime’s “The Man in the Attic”; the classic TNT telefilm, “Cold Sassy Tree,” opposite Faye Dunaway; “My Antonia,” with Jason Robards and Eva Marie Saint; “The Wedding Dress” with Tyne Daly; and CBS’s top-rated telefilm of 2005, “The Christmas Blessing. Harris has also made notable guest appearances on such shows as “Glee,” “Sesame Street,” “Numb3rs,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Touched by an Angel,” “Ed,” and “Will & Grace,” among many others.
As a result of the 2007-08 Writer’s Guild of America strike, Harris starred as the aspiring supervillain and lovelorn title character in Joss Whedon’s Emmy Award-winning, web-based musical miniseries, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.” The web series debuted atop iTunes television charts and produced a subsequently successful soundtrack. Furthering his appeal with the online community, Harris was also one of the leading cast members of the all-star internet hit, “Prop 8: The Musical,” co-starring Jack Black, John C. Reilly and Allison Janney. Most recently, Harris starred in and executive produced the comedic web series, “Neil’s Puppet Dreams.” Created by The Jim Henson Company under its Henson Alternative banner, the seven-episode series, which aired on The Nerdist Channel, follows Harris’ adventures into his sleeping dream world, which is filled with puppet characters.
A veteran of the theatre, Harris tackled the leading role of Bobby in the New York Philharmonic’s concert production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company” at Lincoln Center. The all-star production, co-starring Patti LuPone, Stephen Colbert, Jon Cryer, Christina Hendricks, and Martha Plimpton, was also filmed for a subsequent theatrical release in movie theaters. Harris has starred in three Broadway productions, including the dual roles of The Balladeer/Lee Harvey Oswald in Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical, “Assassins.” Harris made his Broadway debut as Anne Heche’s unexpected suitor in the Pulitzer Prize-winning production of “Proof,” and he later starred as the exuberant emcee in “Cabaret” at Studio 54. His additional theatrical credits include the Hollywood Bowl’s production of “Amadeus,” with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the Geffen Playhouse production of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons,” “tick, tick…BOOM!” at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory, “The Paris Letter” at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, the concert production of “Sweeney Todd,” with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, “Romeo & Juliet” at the Old Globe Theater, and the Los Angeles production of “Rent,” which garnered him a Drama Desk Award.
Utilizing his theatrical expertise behind the curtain and furthering his association with the Pulitzer Prize-winning production, Harris made his musical directorial debut with the Hollywood Bowl’s recent staging of Jonathan Larson’s “Rent,” starring Nicole Scherzinger, Vanessa Hudgens, and Wayne Brady. In July 2007, Harris made his theatrical directing debut with the original comedic script, “I Am Grock,” at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. He later mixed his love of magic and theatre in directing “The Expert at the Card Table” at the 2008 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a production that Harris subsequently directed at the Broad Stage Theater in Los Angeles. Most recently, Harris directed two acclaimed young magicians, Derek DelGaudio and Helder Guimarães, in “Nothing to Hide,” an intimate illusion show at the Geffen Playhouse.
Harris’ feature film debut was a starring role opposite Whoopi Goldberg in the coming-of-age drama, Clara’s Heart, for which he received his first Golden Globe nomination. In 2011, he played Patrick Winslow in Sony Pictures’ worldwide hit film The Smurfs. Harris’ other film credits include notable roles in American Reunion, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Beastly, The Best and the Brightest, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Undercover Brother, The Next Best Thing, The Proposition, and Starship Troopers.
The multi-talented Harris rounds out his accomplishments on stage and screen with an equal measure of success in the world of voice-overs. He will soon be heard lending his vocal talents once again to the role of Steve the Monkey in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, the sequel to Sony Pictures Animation’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, inspired by the beloved children’s book by Judi and Ron Barrett. Among his numerous voiceover credits for film, television, and video games include The Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time,” Dreamworks Animation’s “The Penguins of Madagascar,” Activision’s “Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions,” Warner Bros.’ Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, Warner Bros. Animation’s “Batman: Under the Red Hood,” CBS’ “Yes, Virginia,” The Cartoon Network’s “Robot Chicken” and “Batman: The Brave and the Bold,” Fox’s “Family Guy,” D3’s “Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard,” Warner Bros. Animation’s “Justice League: The New Frontier,” MTV’s “Spider-Man,” The Cartoon Network’s “Justice League,” and Fox’s “Capitol Critters.”
Harris’ voice work also includes creating characters for numerous books on tape, including Ribsy, Henry and Ribsy, and Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary, Slake’s Limbo by Felice Holman, Lump of Coal by Lemony Snicket, and A Very Marley Christmas by John Grogan.
Internationally-acclaimed Dublin born actor BRENDAN GLEESON’s (Victor Doyle) latest projects are Julien Temple’s Sexual Healing, based on the latter years of the life of Marvin Gaye, All You Need Is Kill with Tom Cruise, directed by Doug Liman, Calvary (which sees him reunite with The Guard director John Michael McDonagh), and The Grand Seduction directed by Don McKellar.
A former teacher, Gleeson left that profession to pursue a career in acting – his first love – and joined the Irish theatre company Passion Machine. His rise to fame began when he appeared in Jim Sheridan’s The Field and the lead role of Michael Collins in The Treaty, followed by a number of small roles in such films as Far and Away and Into The West. It was his role as Hamish in Braveheart alongside Mel Gibson that brought him to the attention of Hollywood.
He landed his first starring role in I Went Down, which was followed by his acclaimed role as gang leader Martin Cahill in John Boorman’s The General. His performance gained him awards for not only Best Actor at the 1998 Boston Society of Film Critics Awards and Best Actor at the 1998 ALFS, but also awards from the London Film Critics and the Best Actor award at the 1999 Irish Film & Television Awards.
In 2009, Gleeson was nominated for Golden Globe and BAFTA awards for his role in Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges, in which he starred alongside Colin Farrell and Ralph Fiennes. In the same year, Gleeson won an Emmy award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie and an IFTA for best Actor in a Lead Role in Television for his portrayal of Winston Churchill HBO movie “Into the Storm,” directed by Thaddeus O’Sullivan. He was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television and a BAFTA for Leading Actor for this performance.
Gleeson is of course also well-known for his role as Professor Alastor Moody in the Harry Potter films, as well as the role of Sergeant Gerry Boyle in John Michael McDonagh’s The Guard (2011).
2012 saw the release of Safe House, directed by Daniel Espinoza, The Raven, directed by James McTeigue, and Albert Nobbs, directed by Rodrigo García. Other film credits include the role of August Nicholson in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village, Cold Mountain directed by Anthony Minghella, Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, Breakfast on Pluto directed by Neil Jordan, Wolfgang Peterson’s Troy, Black Irish directed by Brad Gann, Studs directed by Paul Mercier, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire directed by Mike Newell, Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix directed by David Yates, John Boorman’s The Tiger’s Tail and Beowulf directed by Robert Zemeckis, John Woo’s Mission: Impossible 2, Steven Spielberg’s AI, John Boorman’s Tailor of Panama and Country of My Skull, Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, Perrier’s Bounty directed by Ian Fitzgibbon, and Green Zone directed by Paul Greengrass, also starring Matt Damon.
Gleeson is also the voice of Abbott Ceallach in the animated feature The Secret of Kells, the Pirate with Gout in The Pirates! Band of Misfits, the narrator of the Irish-language documentary Seachtar na Cásca, as well as the voice of Conor in Cartoon Saloon’s Song of the Sea.
Gleeson is an accomplished musician, and plays the fiddle.
JAYMA MAYS (Grace) has been seen for the past four seasons as the lovable germaphobe Emma Pillsbury on the hit series “Glee.” Mays has been nominated for two SAG Awards, winning one, being part of this ensemble. On the big screen, she was recently seen as the female lead opposite Kevin James in the smash hit Paul Blart: Mall Cop. Mays’ other film credits include Red Eye, Flags of Our Fathers, and Epic Movie. On television, Mays has been seen in multiple episodes of “Ugly Betty,” “Pushing Daisies,” “Heroes,” and “How I Met Your Mother,” just to name a few. She can currently be seen recurring on FX’s critically acclaimed series, “The League.”
Along with her work commitments, she is also the Ambassador for Raven + Lily, a socially responsible, fair-trade organization that helps empower at-risk women in Africa, India, Cambodia and the United States. Mays’ upcoming film projects are the holiday comedy Last Weekend, co-starring Patricia Clarkson, Zachary Booth and Joseph Cross, and Larry Gaye: Renegade Male Flight Attendant, starring opposite Mark Feuerstein and Stanley Tucci.
A Tony Award nominee and four-time Emmy Award winner, Hank Azaria (Gargamel) is a multifaceted performer in film, television and on the stage, as well as a respected director and comedian. He reprises his role as Gargamel after playing the part in The Smurfs in 2011.
He will next star in Lovelace opposite Amanda Seyfried and Peter Sarsgaard. The biographical film tells the true story of porn icon Linda Lovelace. Azaria plays Jerry Damiano, the director of Deep Throat, which was the erotic 1972 film that made Lovelace famous. Lovelace premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Azaria recently lent his voice to the animated box office hits Hop and Happy Feet 2, both of which grossed over $150 million worldwide.
He also appeared in Love and Other Drugs, opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway and played the villainous Pharaoh Kamunrah in the box-office hit Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, which grossed over $415 million worldwide.
In 1997, Azaria played the scene-stealing Guatemalan housekeeper Agador Spartacus in Mike Nichols’ The Birdcage. The role catapulted Azaria’s film career and earned him a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role; he also shared a win for Outstanding Performance by a Cast with the film’s ensemble. He had previously won critical acclaim as television producer Albert Freedman in the 1994 Academy Award®-nominated film Quiz Show.
Some of Azaria’s notable film credits include Year One opposite Jack Black and Michael Cera; Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla; the 1998 adaptation of Great Expectations, opposite Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow; Tim Robbins’ Cradle Will Rock; Woody Allen’s Celebrity; America’s Sweethearts, with Julia Roberts and Billy Crystal; and Shattered Glass, with Peter Sarsgaard and Hayden Christensen. His additional film credits include Along Came Polly, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Grosse Pointe Blank, Heat, Now and Then and Pretty Woman.
Azaria is also well known for his portrayal of psychiatrist Dr. Craig “Huff” Huffstodt on the critically acclaimed Showtime series “Huff.” The show ran for two seasons, from 2004 to 2006, and garnered seven Emmy nominations in 2005, including a nomination for Azaria for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. He earned a SAG Award nomination that same year. Azaria served as an executive producer on the series and directed an episode during the show’s second season. He also earned Emmy Award nominations for his notable recurring guest-starring roles on “Friends” and “Mad About You.”
In 1999, Azaria starred as Mitch Albom, alongside the legendary Jack Lemmon, in the television film “Tuesdays With Morrie,” and took home the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie. His other made-for-television films include the Jon Avnet-directed “Uprising” and the 2005 film “Fail Safe,” directed by Stephen Frears.
As a vocal artist, Azaria is noted and highly regarded as one of the best, with more than 20 years as one of the principal voice actors on the animated television series “The Simpsons.” Azaria brings to life a list of characters too numerous to mention, though he may be best known as the voices of Moe Szyslak, Apu, Police Chief Wiggum and ComicBook Guy. He has been nominated for five Emmy Awards and has won three for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for his work on “The Simpsons,” and he brought many of his beloved characters to the big screen in 2007’s The Simpsons Movie. His additional voice-over work includes multiple appearances as Venom/Eddie Brock, from 1994 to 1996, on the animated series “Spider-Man,” and as Bartok in the animated feature Anastasia.
In the theater, Azaria has appeared in several productions including a 2003 production of David Mamet’s “Sexual Perversity in Chicago,” opposite Matthew Perry and Minnie Driver, on London’s West End. In 2005, Azaria originated the role of Sir Lancelot in “Spamalot,” the musical-comedy adaptation of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The show was a huge success and earned 14 Tony Award nominations, including one for Azaria for Best Actor in a Musical. In 2007, he returned to Broadway and starred as RCA head David Sarnoff in Aaron Sorkin’s “The Farnsworth Invention.”
As a filmmaker, Azaria wrote, directed and produced the 2004 short film Nobody’s Perfect, which won the Film Discovery Jury Award for Best Short at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival and the award for Best Narrative Short at the Ojai Film Festival.
Azaria also created the Jim Brockmire character which was featured as part of Funny or Die’s Gamechangers series. The Jim Brockmire Story tells the true story of a truly old-school sportscaster who set the standard for how to call a baseball game. He also loved his wife more than anything else until one fateful day when his sports casting career changed forever.
ABOUT THE VOICE CAST
KATY PERRY (Smurfette) cemented her status as a best-selling superstar with the global success of her second studio album, Teenage Dream, which debuted at #1 in 8 countries and spent every week in Billboard’s Top 200 album sales chart since its release over 2 years ago. She became the only female artist to have 5 #1 singles from one album on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (“California Gurls,” “Teenage Dream,” “Firework,” “E.T.” and “Last Friday Night”). The special edition, Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection, added “Part of Me” and “Wide Awake” to Katy’s list of nine Top 40 chart-toppers (dating back to her multi-platinum debut album, 2008’s One of the Boys, which generated four hit singles: “I Kissed A Girl,” “Hot N Cold,” “Thinking of You” and “Waking Up In Vegas”). In 2011, she sold out arenas around the globe on her California Dreams Tour. The tour was the subject of 2012’s 3D feature film, Katy Perry: Part Of Me, which is already the fourth biggest music documentary of all time, outpacing films from Madonna, U2, and the Rolling Stones. This July, she reprises her 2011 role as the voice of Smurfette in The Smurfs 2.
The late comedy legend JONATHAN WINTERS (Papa Smurf) began his career in show business in a talent contest in his home town of Dayton, Ohio; he won a wristwatch, but the performance led him to a job as an early morning disc-jockey on radio station WING in Dayton (1946). This job led him to WBNS-TV in Columbus where he worked for three years.
In 1953, Winters headed for New York for the “big time” with $56.46 in his pocket. Soon after, Winters made appearances on the television shows “Talent Scouts,” “The Jack Paar Show,” “The Steve Allen Show,” and “The Tonight Show,” where he was able to demonstrate his comic genius and become a top name in American comedy.
His many movies include It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming, Oh Dad, Poor Dad, The Midnight Oil, Eight on the Lam, Viva Max, Penelope, The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh, Longshot, Say Yes, Moon Over Parador, The Shadow, The Flintstones, and The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.
On television, his countless credits include “The Colgate Comedy Hour,” “Omnibus,” “The Wacky World of Jonathan Winters,” “The Jonathan Winters Show,” “Playhouse 90,” “The Twilight Zone,” “Laugh-In,” “The Carol Burnett Show,” “Mork and Mindy,” “Davis Rules” (for which he won an Emmy Award), and many others.
He made 12 comedy records and was nominated for 12 Grammy Awards, winning the honor for Best Spoken Word Album in 1992. He has received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor from the Kennedy Center and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Comedy Awards.
CHRISTINA RICCI (Vexy) is one of Hollywood’s most respected young actors whose talent and poise are well beyond her years.
Ricci most recently completed filming on Sarah Spillane’s Around the Block, which focuses on an American drama teacher who develops a friendship with a sixteen year old Australian-Aboriginal boy during the 2004 Redfern riots.
Ricci has received great acclaim in various roles including as part of Ang Lee’s ensemble film The Ice Storm, co-starring Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Joan Allen, and Elijah Wood. She then went on to star as Dedee Truit in the scathing comedy The Opposite of Sex, with a performance which won her the Best Actress Award at the Seattle Film Festival. Ricci was also nominated for a Golden Globe® Award, an American Comedy Award, and an Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress for her work in the film. Soon after, Ricci starred as Layla in Vincent Gallo’s Buffalo 66, earning a National Board of Review Best Supporting Actress Award for her combined efforts in The Opposite of Sex, Buffalo 66 and John Waters’ Pecker.
Additional film credits include Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod’s Bel Ami, Larry and Andy Wachowski’s Speed Racer, Mark Palansky’s Penelope, Craig Brewer’s Black Snake Moan, a critically acclaimed performance in Patty Jenkins’ Monster, opposite Academy Award® winner Charlize Theron, Wes Craven’s Cursed, Woody Allen’s romantic comedy Anything Else, Sally Potter’s The Man Who Cried, and a memorable cameo in Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Additionally, Ricci starred opposite Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow, for which she won the Blockbuster Entertainment Award.
The actress’s performance at age seven in a school Christmas play caught the attention of a local theatre critic, who suggested to her parents that she consider an acting career. She made her professional acting debut one year later in Mermaids in the pivotal role of Cher’s youngest daughter and Winona Ryder’s sister. As a child actor, Ricci won over audiences and critics alike with her winning portrayal of the strangely adorable Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family and the sequel Addams Family Values. She went on to star in the surprise hit of the summer 1995 season Casper. For that, Ricci received the NATO ShowEast Star of the Year Award and the Star of Tomorrow Award from the Motion Picture Booker’s Club for her strong performances and the $100 million-plus box office successes of Addams Family and Casper.
On television, Ricci’s credits include a recurring role on “Ally McBeal;” a guest appearance on “Grey’s Anatomy,” for which she received an Emmy® nomination; as well as guest appearances on “Saving Grace” and “The Good Wife.”
In theatre, Ricci made her Broadway debut in “Time Stands Still” and recently starred off-Broadway in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Ricci serves as the National Spokesperson for the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) and is a member of the organization’s National Leadership Council. RAINN is the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization, operating the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with over 1,100 rape crisis centers across the country. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual assault, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.
JB SMOOVE (Hackus) is a multi-talented comedian, writer and all-around entertainer mostly recognized for his critically lauded performance as the ne’er-do-well, mooching, houseguest from Hell, Leon Black, on HBO’s award-winning series, “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
A native of New York, Smoove’s comedic deftness attracted immediate attention from audiences, leading to his televised stand-up debut on “Russell Simmons’ Def Comedy Jam.” Soon thereafter, Smoove landed the ultimate dream of every aspiring comedian when he was hired as a writer on “Saturday Night Live,” for which he, along with fellow show scribes Tina Fey and Seth Meyers, received the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Comedy/Variety Series.
Known for his unique blend of rapid fire, hard-edged comedy, Smoove has emerged as an artistic jack-of-all-trades amassing an impressive list of television and film credits. On the small screen, Smoove showcased his uncanny versatility in notable reoccurring roles from playing various characters on FOX’s sketch comedy “Cedric the Entertainer Presents” to the advice dispensing, barbershop owner in the semi-autobiographical comedy series, “Everybody Hates Chris,” and the manipulating freeloader Kenny Westchester on “‘Til Death.” Smoove’s other television credits include the NBC series “Bent” as well as guest appearances on “Law and Order,” “ShortCuts,” “Ed,” “Carpoolers,” “Castle,” “In the Flow with Affion Crockett,” “Louie,” and most recently, “The League.”
In addition to his scene-stealing television appearances, Smoove contributes his laugh-out-loud comedic voiceover talent to several popular animated series, including “Glenn Martin DDS,” “American Dad!,” “The Simpsons,” “Black Dynamite: The Animated Series,” and “Robot Chicken.”
Smoove, naturally, progressed to the big screen displaying his boisterous comedic chops in numerous films including Pootie Tang starring Chris Rock; Mr. Deeds with Adam Sandler; Hurricane Season alongside Forest Whitaker and Isaiah Washington; Date Night co-starring Tina Fey and Steve Carell; The Sitter opposite Jonah Hill; We Bought a Zoo starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson; and The Dictator with Sacha Baron Cohen and Anna Faris. His other film credits include The Watermelon Heist, With or Without You, Gas, Frankenhood, Hall Pass and Think Like a Man.
Smoove’s upcoming projects include the animated film Hell & Back alongside Mila Kunis, Susan Sarandon and Michael Pena, and the made for television movie “Clear History,” written by Larry David and starring Kate Hudson, Michael Keaton and Eva Mendes.
In 2012, Smoove appeared in his first televised comedy special on Comedy Central, “JB Smoove: That’s How I Dooz It.”
GEORGE LOPEZ (Grouchy Smurf) is a multi-talented entertainer whose career encompasses television, film, standup comedy and late-night television. For two seasons, Lopez hosted “Lopez Tonight,” a late-night television talk show on TBS, which represented Lopez’s return to series television after co-creating, writing, producing and starring in Warner Bros. Television’s groundbreaking hit sitcom “George Lopez,” which ran for six seasons on ABC. “George Lopez” remains a hit with viewers in syndication on both broadcast stations and cable’s Nick at Nite, ranking as one of the top-rated shows on the network and among the top five comedies and top 20 weekly programs in syndication. “George Lopez” is one of only four off-net comedies to post weekly ratings gains among households from the 2007-’08 to 2008-’09 season.
In May 2013, Lopez will release his second memoir, I’m Not Gonna Lie And Other Lies You Tell When You Turn 50, where he tells the unabashed and hilarious truth about aging – as only he can.
In 2012, Lopez debuted his third solo stand-up special “It’s Not Me, It’s You” on HBO. Lopez also voiced animated characters in a string of animated blockbuster films including Thurman in Escape from Planet Earth opposite Jane Lynch and Sofia Vergara, Rafael in Rio, along with Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway and Jesse Eisenberg, Grouchy Smurf in The Smurfs, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua 1, 2, and 3. His other most recent film credits include the box-office hit Valentine’s Day, directed by Garry Marshall, Swing Vote, Henry Poole Is Here, and Balls of Fury.
In August 2009, Lopez filmed his second HBO Comedy Special, “Tall, Dark and Chicano.” He headlined his first HBO Comedy Special, “America’s Mexican,” in 2007. Lopez has also performed as part of HBO and TBS’s Comic Relief 2006. His acclaimed comedy concert, “Why You Crying?,” debuted on Showtime in 2004. He released his third standup CD, “El Mas Chingon,” in 2006, earning a GRAMMY® nomination in the category of Best Comedy Album. Prior to that, in 2004, he was nominated for a GRAMMY in the same category for his CD “Team Leader.” In May 2004, his autobiography, Why You Crying?, entered The New York Times Bestsellers List top 20. The book was co-written by Emmy winning writer and sportscaster Armen Keteyian. Lopez also was the focus of the award-winning documentary Brown is the New Green: George Lopez and the American Dream.
In 2006, Lopez received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In addition, Time magazine named him one of the 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America, and the Harris Poll named him one of the Top Ten Favorite Television Personalities. Lopez has made more than 200 television comedy, talk show and hosting appearances, including co-hosting the Emmy Awards and twice hosting the Latin GRAMMYs. In 2001, Lopez hosted a major morning radio show in Los Angeles, becoming the first Latino to headline the key morning slot on an English-language station in one of the nation’s top radio markets.
Lopez has received the Manny Mota Foundation Community Spirit Award and was named Honorary Mayor of Los Angeles for his extensive fundraising efforts benefiting earthquake victims in El Salvador and Guatemala. Other honors include an Imagen Vision Award, the Latino Spirit Award and the National Hispanic Media Coalition Impact Award.
The Lopez Foundation, founded by George, was established to create positive, permanent change for underprivileged children and adults confronting challenges in education and health, as well as increasing community awareness about kidney disease, organ donation, and the military.
Anton Yelchin (Clumsy Smurf) is one of the Hollywood’s is one of Hollywood’s most sought after young actors. With highly acclaimed performances in Like Crazy, Star Trek, Terminator Salvation, The Beaver and Charlie Bartlett, Yelchin is quickly becoming a household name.
2013 is a busy year for the actor. He has reprised his role as Pavel Chekov in Paramount’s Star Trek Into Darkness, in theatres May 17, 2013. He also voiced the lead character in the English version of the film From Up On Poppy Hill.
Yelchin recently completed filming Jim Jarmusch’s film Only Lovers Left Alive, in which he stars alongside Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska and he wrapped production on Broken Horses with Vincent D’Onofrio and Chris Marquette. He will begin work on 5 to 7 next. The film centers on young novelist who has an affair with wife of French diplomat.
Yelchin received critical acclaim for his starring role in Drake Doremus’ film Like Crazy for which he was honored with the Artist to Watch Award at 2011 Aspen Film Festival and the Hollywood Spotlight Award at the 2011 Hollywood Film Festival. He also garnered praise from critics for his performance as Porter Black in The Beaver, co-starring with Mel Gibson and director Jodie Foster.
Yelchin’s film credits include a starring role opposite Colin Farrell and Tony Collete in Disney/Dreamworks thriller Fright Night; he voiced the character of Albino Pirate in animated feature, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, starring Hugh Grant and Salma Hayek; he starred as Kyle Reese in Terminator Salvation opposite Christian Bale and Sam Worthington and he starred in Charlie Bartlett as the title character opposite Robert Downey Jr.
Additional films include Alpha Dog opposite Bruce Willis; Hearts in Atlantis opposite Anthony Hopkins; Fierce People opposite Diane Lane; Middle of Nowhere opposite Susan Sarandon; House of D opposite Robin Williams and New York, I Love You with all the stars cast.
Yelchin has also appeared on some of television’s most critically acclaimed dramas including the Showtime series “Huff” for two seasons and guest starring roles on “Criminal Minds” and “Law and Order.”
Modern-day political satirist and comedic wunderkind, JOHN OLIVER (Vanity Smurf) is best known for his contribution as a writer and Senior British correspondent for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” For his writing on “The Daily Show,” he has earned multiple Writers Guild nominations, and has won three Emmy Awards for Best Comedy Writing in a Comedy or Variety Series.
A native of Birmingham, England, Oliver’s multi-hyphenated talents have been showcased on that side of the pond as well. With his long-time collaborator, Andy Zaltzman, he wrote and co-starred in the BBC Radio 4 shows “Political Animal” and “The Department.” Alongside Zaltzman, he also writes and stars in the hit weekly podcast, “The Bugle” at www.thebuglepodcast.com. His other British credits include “Mock the Week,” “Bremner, Bird & Fortune,” “The Last Word,” “Green Wing,” “Chambers,” “People Like Us,” and “My Hero.”
Due to his mass appeal on “The Daily Show,” Comedy Central offered Oliver his own one hour stand-up special, “Terrifying Times,” which premiered in 2008. The success of the stand-up special led to Comedy Central commissioning his own series, “John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show,” which returns for a fourth season in fall 2013”. Oliver also co-wrote and hosted, the CBC comedy special, “Decline of the American Empire” and participated in “The Rally to Restore Sanity and / or Fear” gathering led by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Oliver made his film debut in Mike Myers’ comedy, The Love Guru and he has a recurring role as psychology professor, Dr. Ian Duncan in the NBC series “Community”.
When not providing political commentary on “The Daily Show,” Oliver performs his stand-up comedy at various venues throughout the United States.
Oliver won the Breakout Award at the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
RAJA GOSNELL (Director) was born in Los Angeles and started his career as an assistant editor for famed director Robert Altman, working on Popeye among other features. After working with Academy Award®-winning editor William Reynolds, Gosnell went off on his own earning his first solo credit in editing for the film The Silence.
Over the next decade and a half, Gosnell continued to work as a film editor for numerous hits including Teen Wolf Too (1987), Pretty Woman (1990), and Rookie of the Year (1993). He subsequently became associated with filmmaker Chris Columbus, working as his editor on each of Columbus’ directing efforts, including Adventures in Babysitting (1987), Heartbreak Hotel (1988), Home Alone (1990), Only The Lonely (1991), Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) and Nine Months (1995).
By the mid ‘90s, Gosnell had made the transition to directing and began looking for a project that he might helm. After discovering Home Alone 3 (1997) was on the lookout for a director, he got in touch with producer John Hughes. Gosnell, who had worked on the previous Home Alone films along with a number of other Hughes movies, landed the job.
Since then, he has directed several box-office successes, including Never Been Kissed, Big Momma’s House, Scooby-Doo, Scooby-Doo 2: Monster’s Unleashed, Yours, Mine and Ours, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua, and his latest hit, The Smurfs.
JORDAN KERNER (Producer) is president and founder of The Kerner Entertainment Company, which is committed to high quality, value-oriented, provocative entertainment.
Kerner most recently produced the live action/CG animation hybrid The Smurfs for Columbia Pictures, which was released in the Summer of 2011 and grossed over $550 million worldwide.
Kerner previously produced a faithful live action adaptation of the revered E.B. White book Charlotte’s Web for a Holiday 2006 release. It was written by Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich) and Karey Kirkpatrick (Chicken Run). The late Gary Winick (Letters to Juliette, 13 Going on 30) directed the film. It starred Dakota Fanning as Fern. The animated voice cast included Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey, Robert Redford, Kathy Bates, John Cleese, Steve Buscemi, and Thomas Hayden Church.
Aside from The Smurfs and Charlotte’s Web, Kerner’s previous films include such titles as Snow Dogs, George of the Jungle 1 and 2, Inspector Gadget 1 and 2, Three Musketeers, Up Close and Personal, The Mighty Ducks trilogy, The War, When a Man Loves a Woman, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Less than Zero, as well as the TV movies “A Wrinkle in Time,” “Heatwave,” “For Their Own Good,” “The Switch,” and many others, including the “Mama Flora’s Family” miniseries and “The Judds” miniseries.
Kerner was named the Producer of the Year by the Hollywood Entertainment Museum at its 2006 Legacy Award Event. His films have received nominations for or won Academy Awards®, Emmy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, BAFTA Awards, The Critics Choice Award, The Nick Award, DGA Awards, WGA Awards, The Humanitas Award, The Christopher Award, NAACP Award, The Diversity Award, The Golden Satellite Award, The Golden Reel Award, The Art Directors Guild Award and Visual Effects Society Awards.
Currently, Kerner Entertainment has over 25 projects in development for theatrical, television, and video premiere release.
In 2007, Kerner became the Dean of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ School of Filmmaking. He began to re-imagine the manner in which film, television, animation, gaming, and other new media are taught in the 21st Century. Kerner has initiated many novel educational systems, as well as led a legislative effort to both increase the Film Tax Incentive and a create a new public/private means for studio construction across North Carolina. He made the tenets of Value and Worth the guiding principles of the storytelling at UNCSA’s School of Filmmaking, and initiated a number of visionary cross-university and interdisciplinary programs. The University believes in working professional Deans, and supported his commute to California to maintain and build his Production Company. Kerner oversaw the rise of the School of Filmmaking at UNCSA from a strong regional program to the #2 Public University School of Filmmaking in the nation; #8 overall School of Filmmaking in the US and #12 in the world. He was named one of the 50 Most Influential Individuals in the Triad of North Carolina three years in a row.
Kerner is a graduate of Stanford University with an AB degree with Distinction in Political Science and Communications. He also received a joint graduate degree from both the University of California at Berkeley with an MBA from the Haas School of Business (including an emphasis in Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy) and University of California at San Francisco, UC Hastings College of the Law where he was a member of the UC Hastings Law Review and founder of COMM/ENT The Journal of Communications and Entertainment Law.
He currently has homes in Los Angeles and Winston-Salem with his wife Nicola O’Shea, their daughters Haley, Grace and Lily; a white Labrador retriever Larry the Cat; three actual cats Lucy, Wally, and Zoë, and a gecko who has requested anonymity.
J. DAVID STEM & DAVID N. WEISS (Screenplay by/Story by) were co-writers of the Academy Award®-nominated features Shrek 2 and Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius. They received an Emmy nomination for their work as co-producers and head writers of the “Rugrats” series, where they also penned the acclaimed perennial “Rugrats Chanukah Special.” The team wrote the screenplay for The Rugrats Movie, and co-wrote Rugrats in Paris, as well as the adventure film Clockstoppers, the family hit Are We There Yet?, starring Ice Cube; and Daddy Day Camp, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. In 2011, they wrote the story and co-wrote the screenplay for the worldwide hit The Smurfs.
In television, the writing duo served as executive story editors on the hit CBS series “Cybill” and as co-producers on The WB’s “Mission Hill.” Stem attended USC’s Graduate School of Journalism and wrote for TV Guide and Newsday. He also built an ADDY Award-winning career in advertising as a writer and director. Weiss received his graduate degree from the USC School of Cinema/Television. Prior to teaming with Stem, he wrote and directed several award-winning shorts and penned the screenplay for the popular animated feature All Dogs Go to Heaven.
JAY SCHERICK & DAVID RONN (Screenplay by / Story by) met when they both worked for a New York based corporate bartering company. Unhappy in their work, the two decided to team up and write a television script. The effort landed them a job as staff writers on the short-lived NBC comedy, “Mr. Rhodes.” From there, Scherick & Ronn segued into three years on “Spin City” where they served as writer/producers.
At the same time, Scherick & Ronn also pursued a feature career, writing two spec scripts, National Security and Servicing Sara, both of which were produced. While continuing to work in television, the two expanded their feature career working on a number of projects including I Spy starring Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson, Guess Who starring Ashton Kutcher and Bernie Mac, and Norbit again with Eddie Murphy. In 2011, they were credited with co-writing the screenplays for Columbia Pictures’/MGM’s Zookeeper and the worldwide hit The Smurfs.
Jay Scherick grew up in New York, and for a few years, Los Angeles. He is a graduate of Harvard College.
David Ronn was raised in Great Neck, NY, and is a graduate of NYU.
After attending the USC School of Cinema/Television (now the school of Cinematic Arts), KAREY KIRKPATRICK (Screenplay by) landed a job as a staff writer at Walt Disney Feature Animation where he co-wrote the screenplay for The Rescuers Down Under. Additional early writing credits include Walt Disney Pictures’ Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves and James and the Giant Peach and New Line Cinema’s The Little Vampire.
In 1997, Kirkpatrick teamed again with executive producer Jake Eberts (James and the Giant Peach) to write Chicken Run for Aardman Animations and DreamWorks SKG. Nominated for a Golden Globe® Award in 2001 for Best Picture, Musical or Comedy, Chicken Run was the best-reviewed film of 2000. He also wrote the screenplay adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for Walt Disney Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment.
Kirkpatrick co-wrote the screenplay of E.B. White’s classic Charlotte’s Web for Paramount Pictures and produced and co-wrote The Spiderwick Chronicles for Paramount/Nickelodeon.
He also co-wrote the screenplay and made his directorial debut on Over the Hedge, sharing the credit with Tim Johnson, and in 2009, he made his live action directing debut on Imagine That for Paramount Pictures starring Eddie Murphy and Thomas Haden Church.
He most recently provided the English language screenplay adaptations for two Studio Ghibli projects, The Secret World of Arietty and From Up on Poppy Hill.
The creator of the Smurfs is cartoonist Peyo (Pierre Culliford’s pseudonym) (based on characters and works created by), born in Brussels in 1928. Forced to earn a living at age 15, he first works as a movie projectionist, then spent a short while in a small cartoon studio. The studio closed, and Peyo decided to get into comics. He published strips in several dailies, but the beginnings were hard. His first success came when he joined Spirou magazine with “Johan and Peewit.” A few years later, he created the Smurfs. The idea started at a happy dinner with cartoonist Franquin. Peyo said, indicating the salt, “Could you pass me the... the smurf?” “Here,” answered Franquin, “I smurf it to you.” The language was created. The characters would soon follow.
After their appearance, Peyo continued to draw the adventures of Johan and Peewit and those of Poussy the cat and introduced Benoît Brisefer, an extraordinarily strong little boy, but the worldwide success of the Smurfs ended up monopolizing all his energy. He would devote himself to their destiny, in all its aspects, until his death in 1992. Since then, his family and coworkers have continued his work in the same spirit of humor and creativity.
EZRA SWERDLOW (Executive Producer) has amassed a distinguished production career that spans over the past 30 years, working alongside such iconic directors as Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Sydney Pollack, Mike Nichols, Barry Levinson and Mel Brooks.
His most recent credits are the action-comedy 21 Jump Street, Curtis Hanson’s critically acclaimed financial docudrama “Too Big To Fail,” starring William Hurt, Paul Giamatti and Billy Crudup, Sony’s CGI/ live-action hybrid movie The Smurfs, horror comedy Zombieland, starring Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, and the instant Disney classic Enchanted starring Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey and James Marsden. He also served as executive producer on Invincible, starring Mark Wahlberg.
Swerdlow began his career in 1980, serving as a unit manager on Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories. He spent the next few years working in a variety of production capacities (including location manager, unit manager and production manager) on such renowned films as Tootsie, Arthur and King of Comedy, before earning his inaugural producing credit on Allen’s Radio Days.
His diverse portfolio clearly shows that he’s not afraid of tackling different genres such as the successful adaptation of Terry McMillan’s bestseller, Waiting to Exhale, which he not only produced but also developed. He has also served as executive producer on such commercial and critical hits as Wag the Dog, Head of State, The First Wives Club and Secret Window starring Johnny Depp.
BEN HABER (Executive Producer) is Vice President of Kerner Entertainment, a production company that is devoted to producing high quality entertainment for the family audience.
Haber co-produced the 2007 Academy Award®-nominated Revolution Studios/Columbia Pictures musical Across the Universe. It was directed by Julie Taymor and stars Evan Rachel Wood and Jim Sturgis.
Prior to joining Kerner Entertainment, Haber was Vice President at Broken Road Productions and, before that, Director at Gross Entertainment.
He began his career in the entertainment industry with an MFA in Motion Picture Producing from The University of Southern California’s prestigious Peter Stark Producing Program. He double majored in Theatre and Mathematics at Northwestern University.
Haber resides in Encino, California with his wife, Laurie Barnes, and their two dogs, Fletch and Sabrina.
In 1993, PAUL NEESAN (Executive Producer) moved to Los Angeles from San Francisco, California to pursue a career in film. Later that year, Neesan was introduced to film producer John Davis, who offered Neesan the opportunity to develop film material from one of Davis’ offices on the 20th Century Fox studio lot. In his first year, Neesan found and developed the screenplay Courage Under Fire.
In 1996, Neesan co-produced that film, which starred Denzel Washington, Meg Ryan and Matt Damon. Directed by Edward Zwick, Courage Under Fire centered on a female helicopter pilot whose bravery in the Gulf War earned her a medal of honor. Neesan also developed and executive produced the Sylvester Stallone action thriller Daylight with Davis, for director Rob Cohen and Universal Pictures in 1996.
In 1996, Neesan was named director of development of Universal Pictures and was promoted to vice president of film production that same year. Neesan supervised many films (ranging from The Nutty Professor, Meet The Parents, Happy Gilmore to Dante’s Peak) as a studio executive during his tenure at Universal Pictures from 1996 to 2000.
In 1998, Neesan co-produced Mercury Rising, a Universal Pictures thriller he developed from a Ryne Douglas Pearson novel, which starred Bruce Willis. The film, directed by Harold Becker, told the story of an FBI agent (Willis) who was chosen to protect a 9-year-old autistic boy who accidentally cracked an important secret government code.
In 1999, Neesan also produced The New Jersey Turnpikes, a comedy about the final year of the American Basketball Association. The film starred Orlando Jones, Kelsey Grammer and Jason Segal.
In 2000, Neesan left the studio to run development and production for Mostow/Lieberman Productions. Neesan supervised development of the film slate for director Jonathan Mostow and producer Hal Lieberman, resulting in the 2000 production of WWII U-Boat drama U-571 for Universal Pictures. The film was directed by Jonathan Mostow and starred Matthew McConaughey.
In 2001, Neesan was introduced to Jordan Kerner, who was in the process of forming The Kerner Entertainment Company at Paramount Pictures. Neesan joined Kerner as executive vice president of the company and head of development and production. While head of production for Kerner, Neesan supervised development of his entire slate of films which resulted in the release of the 2002 Disney family comedy Snow Dogs starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as well as two sequels to Kerner’s family franchise films in 2003 – George of the Jungle 2 and Inspector Gadget 2.
In 2003, for Kerner and Paramount Pictures, Neesan developed and guided production of Charlotte’s Web based on the classic book by E.B. White. The film, released by Paramount in December 2006 was executive produced by Neesan and starred Dakota Fanning and various voice talent including Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey and Steve Buscemi. Gary Winick was the film’s director.
With Kerner in 2002, Neesan acquired the rights to the Belgian comic The Smurfs and is executive producer of the Columbia Pictures family film franchise. The Smurfs, directed by Raja Gosnell and starring Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, and various voice talent including Jonathan Winters, Katy Perry and George Lopez was released on July 29, 2011 and grossed $563 million worldwide.
In January of 2012, Neesan formed the film and television production company Whipsmart. Neesan currently guides over 15 development projects for Whipsmart, including the company’s first film The Long Red Road, starring Tom Hardy and Michael Shannon.
A biochemistry graduate from the University of California at Davis, Neesan resides in Los Angeles with his 10-year-old son Zachary.
PHIL MÉHEUX, BSC (Director of Photography) most recently filmed The Smurfs for director Raja Gosnell and Here Comes the Boom for director Frank Coraci.
Prior to that, he filmed Edge of Darkness, which continued a long and successful collaboration with director Martin Campbell. He photographed Campbell’s feature directorial debut, Criminal Law, and went on to work with him on Defenseless, No Escape, GoldenEye, The Mask of Zorro, Beyond Borders, The Legend of Zorro, and the James Bond thriller Casino Royale, for which he earned a British Society of Cinematographers Award and a BAFTA Award nomination.
Méheux’s additional cinematography credits include the features Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Around the World in 80 Days, Chris Columbus’ Bicentennial Man, Jon Amiel’s Entrapment, Phillip Noyce’s The Saint, Ghost in the Machine, The Trial, Highlander 2: The Quickening, Renegades, The Fourth Protocol, Max Headroom, and Experience Preferred…But Not Essential.
After leaving school at 16, Méheux worked at various film jobs in London before becoming a projectionist at the BBC Television Studios in Ealing. In his free time, he edited and photographed a number of 16mm shorts, the most notable of which was One is One, which was sponsored by the British Film Institute and entered in several worldwide film festivals. His ambitious efforts gained him a place with the BBC’s prestigious film training program and, by the late 1960s, Méheux was working as a documentary cameraman with the BBC film unit. Several of his award-winning television films subsequently caught the eye of director Anthony Simmons, whose 35mm feature Black Joy, photographed by Méheux, became the official British entry at the 1977 Cannes Film Festival. Its producer, Martin Campbell, then re-teamed with Méheux on the Alan Clarke drama Scum, which led to such early cinematography credits as The Long Good Friday, Omen III: The Final Conflict and The Disappearance of Harry.
Méheux was elected to the British Society of Cinematographers in 1979 and has served on the Board of Governors for several years, becoming its longest-running president for a four-year term, from 2002 to 2006, and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
BILL BOES (Production Designer) re-teams with director Raja Gosnell after collaborating on the films Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Scooby-Doo, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, and the 2011 hit The Smurfs.
Boes grew up in Santa Cruz, California in the 1970s and studied Film at San Francisco State University.
After three years as a staff toy designer for Lewis Galoob Toys, Boes branched out into small film productions and music videos. Having always made his own films and animation projects as a kid, he was thrilled to be hired as a model maker and then promoted to assistant art director on Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.
That collaboration led to work on other Burton films and he subsequently met his mentor, production designer Rich Heinrich. After serving as assistant art director and then art director on several shows, Boes was hired in 1998 as production designer for director Henry Selick’s epic film Monkeybone.
His other production design credits include Fantastic Four and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.
SABRINA PLISCO, A.C.E. (Editor) is a highly regarded editor specializing in “hybrid” and heavy visual effects movies whose recent projects include The Smurfs, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, Charlotte’s Web, Free Willy: Escape from Pirates Cove, and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
Among Plisco’s television projects are such films as the DreamWorks miniseries “Into the West,” “Boomtown,” “Uprising” (ACE Eddie Award nomination), “Trapped in a Purple Haze,” and “Chance of a Lifetime,” along with her musical collaborations with Robert Townsend: “Livin’ For Love: The Natalie Cole Story,” “Holiday Heart,” and “Little Richard.”
Plisco has been frequently called upon to edit Hallmark Hall of Fame television productions, including “The Locket,” “My Sister’s Keeper,” “Looking for Lost Bird,” “Durango,” “Rose Hill,” “Blue River” and “Trick of the Eye.” Other television projects include “Michael Hayes,” “Providence,” “Divas,” “A Mother’s Instinct,” “Blue River,” “Under One Roof,” “Menendez: A Killing in Beverly Hills,” “Passion for Justice: The Hazel Brannon Smith Story” and “For Their Own Good.”
Plisco has been a frequent collaborator with director Mike Robe on such projects as “The Junction Boys,” “Scared Silent,” “The Princess and the Marine,” “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” “Emma’s Wish,” “Final Descent” and “Summer of Fear.” She has also teamed with director John Power on a number of projects, including “Someone Else’s Child,” “Fatal Vows: The Alexandra O’Hara Story,” “Betrayed by Love” and “Heart of Fire.”
Academy AwardÒ-nominated visual effects supervisor RICHARD R. HOOVER (Visual Effects Supervisor), whose visual effects work on Superman Returns and Armageddon earned him Oscar® nominations, is known for his broad creative palette.
For Sony Pictures Animation’s 2011 live-action/animation hybrid The Smurfs™, Hoover brought the iconic 2D characters to life in three dimensions. He is reprising that role on The Smurfs™ 2.
Since joining Sony Pictures Imageworks in 2002, Hoover supervised visual effects for the comedy Cats and Dogs 2, the suspense thriller Valkyrie and a special assignment as the senior visual effects supervisor on Blade Runner: The Final Cut, the 2007 restoration of the classic.
Prior to Imageworks, Hoover worked at Dream Quest Images, which later became The Secret Lab, for more than a decade. Among his credits there, he was Visual Effects Supervisor on Touchstone Pictures’ Reign of Fire and Unbreakable and Walt Disney Studios’ Inspector Gadget.
Earlier in his career, Hoover also served as Visual Effects Supervisor on the Walt Disney’s Jungle to Jungle and the Warner Bros. film Freejack.
Hoover entered feature film visual effects through a successful career as a commercial director, establishing his reputation with deft production of commercials rich in visual effects. Hoover was one of the first directors at Dream Quest (DQ) Image’s commercial division, DQ Films, where he designed, shot and supervised effects shots. During his tenure at DQ Films, Hoover directed the movie trailer for Total Recall (1990).
Before moving to DQ Films, Hoover directed live action spots for New York-based Triplevision and the legendary Robert Abel & Associates. At Robert Abel & Associates, Hoover worked with renowned and innovative commercial filmmaker, Robert Abel, a leading pioneer in computer graphics and visual effects for film and television. With Abel, he had the opportunity to direct a variety of high profile commercials for national clients, such as Levi’s, combining live action, computer graphics and a wide range of visual effects. Hoover soon won several prestigious Clio awards and honors at film festivals in Cannes, New York and Chicago.
Hoover began his career at Mid-Ocean Motion Pictures in Los Angeles where he tackled both live action and computer generated visual effects assignments. Here he demonstrated a keen understanding of character and drama as well as a mastery of cutting-edge technology.
Hoover is a graduate of the University of Oregon where he majored in Design with an emphasis in animation.
RITA RYACK (Costume Designer) is an award-winning costume designer who has worked on over 40 feature films, including Hairspray and Rock of Ages for director Adam Shankman.
Among her other projects are Casino, Cape Fear, After Hours, and Bringing Out the Dead, all for Martin Scorsese; Barry Levinson’s Wag the Dog; and Robert De Niro’s A Bronx Tale. She has designed costumes for six of Ron Howard’s films: Apollo 13, Ransom, A Beautiful Mind, EDtv, The Paper and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which earned her an Oscar® nomination. Her other notable films include Brett Ratner’s Rush Hour 2 and After the Sunset; Mitchell Lichtenstein’s Teeth; and the HBO film “You Don’t Know Jack,” with Al Pacino, for which she received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special.
Ryack has also worked extensively on and off-Broadway, receiving Tony Award and Drama Desk Award nominations for the Broadway musical “My One and Only,” which starred Tommy Tune and Twiggy, and a Drama Desk Award nomination for “Digby.” She also designed for the productions of “Time Stands Still” and “The Human Comedy.”
Her other awards and nominations include the OBIE for Sustained Excellence in Costume Design, and the Costume Designers Guild Award and Satellite Award for How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
She most recently designed the NBC pilot “Smash,” executive produced by Steven Spielberg. She also designed The 82nd Annual Academy Awards® for Adam Shankman and Michael Jackson’s “Bad” video, directed by Martin Scorsese.
She is currently shooting Angelica, a Victorian ghost story, directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein.
HEITOR PEREIRA (Music by) is establishing a reputation for bringing international flavors to mainstream American scores. From a Santa Monica studio jammed with hundreds of instruments from around the world, Pereira has composed scores for From Prada to Nada, Despicable Me, It’s Complicated, Running the Sahara, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Illegal Tender, Curious George, Ask the Dust, Real Women Have Curves, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights and Riding in Cars With Boys.
Pereira attracted Hans Zimmer’s attention for his outstanding skills as a guitarist. Zimmer hired Pereira to play on a few scores, and soon Pereira was following in the footsteps of other well-known musicians-turned-film- composers including Zimmer, James Newton Howard and Danny Elfman. Pereira has played guitar on and/or contributed music to the scores of Mission: Impossible II, Black Hawk Down, Spanglish, As Good as It Gets, I Am Sam, The Pledge, Something’s Gotta Give, Shrek 2, Madagascar, Man on Fire, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, The Rundown, Flushed Away, The Holiday, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, The Simpsons Movie, The Kite Runner, Bee Movie, The Dark Knight and Angels & Demons.
Born to a family of musicians in the south of Brazil, Pereira completed his conservatory studies in guitar, harmony, counterpoint and composition in Rio de Janeiro. He quickly began playing with some of the leading artists in Brazil and attracted the attention of the producer of the band Simply Red. He entertained millions of fans around the world as that band’s lead guitarist. He has also released three solo albums of his own music. Throughout his career, Pereira has played guitar on the albums of widely diverse artists who esteem him as much for his unique sensibility as his astonishing guitar virtuosity. These artists include Sergio Mendes, Caetano Veloso, Ivan Lins, Jack Johnson, Bryan Adams, Sir Elton John, Willie Nelson, Shania Twain, Seal and Nelly Furtado.
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 both the big and small screen. 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 and 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!
About Sony Pictures
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production, acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. For additional information, go to http://www.sonypictures.com/.
About Sony Pictures Animation
Sony Pictures Animation produces a variety of animated entertainment for audiences around the world. The studio is following its worldwide comedy hits—the 2012 monster hit comedy Hotel Transylvania, the 2011 hybrid live action/animated blockbuster, The Smurfs and the 2009 mouth-watering Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs—with The Smurfs 2 in July 2013, and Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 in September 2013. Sony Pictures Animation, in conjunction with Aardman Animations, has produced two critically acclaimed feature films: the CG-animated family comedy Arthur Christmas; and the Academy Award® nominated stop-frame animated high-seas adventure, The Pirates! Band of Misfits. In 2007, Surf’s Up also received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Animated Feature Film. The division, whose first feature film Open Season led to a very successful movie franchise, turned 10 in 2012. Sony Pictures Animation is an operating unit of Sony Pictures Digital Productions.
· Website: http://www.sonypicturesanimation.com/
· Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SONYPicturesAnimation
· Tumblr: http://sonyanimation.tumblr.com/
· YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/SonyAnimation
About Lafig Belgium S.A.
Lafig Belgium is the owner of the rights to produce audio-visual works based on the Smurf universe and of the Smurf worldwide licensing rights (together with IMPS). Lafig Belgium is controlled by the heirs of Pierre Culliford, better known under his pseudonym Peyo, the author/creator of the Smurfs. For 50 years, the Culliford family has controlled the Smurf characters and all licenses worldwide.
“Academy Award®” and “Oscar®” are the registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.