The Internet was humming yesterday with news about little sky-blue guys known as the Smurfs’or Les Schtroumpfs as they’re called in French. It all started when French network France 3 offered a brief news spot about the 50th anniversary of the famous property, which showed a peek at the CG animation in the works for the upcoming movie. Before long, Comingsoon.net and Slash.net also put screen-captures of the rough-renders of The Smurfs on their sites.
Created by Belgian cartoonist Peyo, who first introduced them in comics magazine Le Journal de Spirou in October 1958, the little guys became a huge sensation in the 1980s, when Hanna-Barbera created a multiple-Emmy-winning animated series based on the property.
Last month, Warner Home Entertainment released the first volume The Smurfs, featuring 19 episodes of the show, and Paramount/Nickelodeon was expected to release the CG-animated feature this year’in time for their 50th anniversary’however, it seems the movie has been pushed back.
The toon’s producer Jordan Kerner (The Mighty Ducks, George of the Jungle, Charlotte’s Web) was quoted extensively, saying that he saw the feature as an ‘animated Lord of the Rings‘through the world of these idiots. Because they’re sweet characters but they’re goofs. It’s a comic version, but still very heartfelt, version of Lord of the Rings‘though not literally Lord of the Rings, but an epic story like that.’ Kerner also explained that the show’s chief villain Gargamel will be back in the movie. His back-story, the origins of Smurf Soup, the mysterious goings-on at the castle, and the origins of the conflict will be explored in the feature.
Kerner also revealed that securing the rights for the property was a tough process. ‘[It] took me five years of negotiation to get the rights. And then, I.M.P.S., who owns The Smurfs copyright) were very uncertain about what story we wanted to tell’we weren’t going to tell them until we had the rights, either. Then we got the rights on everyone’s faith that they also had an ability to veto, and presented them with the treatment. They just loved it. To be told that they loved it’not just liked it’and to be told that [creator] Peyo would’ve loved it, is a huge blessing and a great thing to have happen.’
According to imdb.com, toon veteran Colin Brady (TMNT, Everyone’s Hero) is directing the movie, while John Lithgow and SNL alumnus Julia Sweeney are two of the names thrown around as voice stars. We hope legendary toon thesp Lucille Bliss, who portrayed the original Smurfette on the TV series, will be asked to do a cameo voice for the project as well!
You can see the recently leaked images from the movie at www.slashfilm.com/2008/02/17/first-look-the-smurfs-movie/