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Kidsday interviews stars of 'The Smurfs'

Kidsday reporters Emma Levin, Logan Leeds and Lia

Kidsday reporters Emma Levin, Logan Leeds and Lia Russo, with stars of "The Smurfs," actress Jayma Mays (who plays Grace Winslow) and actor Neil Patrick Harris (Patrick Winslow) at the Sony offices in Manhattan Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly

We think every director will be “blue” with envy while watching the new movie “The Smurfs.” The movie is just everlasting happiness. We went to the Blue Carpet premiere on Sunday at the Ziegfield Theater in Manhattan, and met many of the stars of the film.

It was a fantastic movie, and a nice kick that it was in 3D. The movie starts off with the Smurfs in their quiet village but somehow Gargamel (voice by Hank Azaria), the Smurfs' enemy, finds their village and the Smurfs are forced to run away. But they go in the wrong direction and end up in New York City. They must find their way back to their village, but all the while they are dealing with Gargamel trying to catch them. While they are in New York, they cheer up a family who is about to have a baby. We think this is a very funny movie, and we love all the things the Smurfs did to Gargamel.

We liked how Patrick Winslow (Neil Patrick Harris) did not like the Smurfs at first but then changed and then started to help them. Some of our favorite characters were Smurfette (Katy Perry), Clumsy Smurf (Anton Yelchin) and Grouchy Smurf (George Lopez).
It’s the best movie we’ve ever seen.

RATING 5 (out of 5)

The next day, we spoke with actors Neil Patrick Harris and Jayma Mays at the Sony Offices in Manhattan. They star as Patrick and Grace Winslow in “The Smurfs.”

What movies or TV shows that you starred in before Smurfs came out that was your favorite?

NEIL: Great question. I love “How I Met Your Mother,” the show that I’m on right now. That’s probably my very favorite and I was on a TV show when I was younger called “Doogie Howser, MD,” I played a teenage genius doctor for four years. That’s was long ago. What about you?
JAYMA: And those were my favorite shows. I had a small part in the first season of “How I Met Your Mother.” That was a very, very fun job for me. Yeah, the job I have now on "Glee" it's a very fun job and I love it and I love playing the character on it.
NEIL: Did you get to go on tour with them and sing songs and dance?
JAYMA: I didn’t
NEIL: Not at all? Never? Are you glad that you didn’t?
JAYMA: Well I get nervous when I have to sing and dance
NEIL: Did you guys see the “Glee” live show?


JAYMA: You’re great fans. Just kidding.

If the Smurfs took on the Muppets in a battle, who would win?

JAYMA: That’s a good one. They’re bigger.
NEIL: The Muppets are bigger. Some of them are tough. Cookie Monster’s no joke.
JAYMA: The Smurfs are smart. They’re organized.
NEIL: Smurfs are wily, but they’re tiny. I’d go Muppets. Because one of them has the TNT thing. He can blow things up. Although Jokey Smurf has the box that can blow things up.
JAYMA: That’s right. I thought the Smurfs all pooled together. They’re all about teamwork. I’m going to go Smurfs.
NEIL: There’s more Smurfs than Muppets I think. There’s like 199 Smurfs. Maybe they’re probably like overwhelming. They’d take over Elmo. They’d knock Elmo down. Alright, I say Smurfs.

When you first heard about it were you excited to work on “The Smurfs” movie?

JAYMA: Yes, I was very, very excited. I watched the Smurfs when I was a kid. So I loved the show. And when I found out I was working with Neil I got very, very excited.
NEIL: I was equally excited. I was signed on before Jayma was. So I wish I could say the same answer, but I don’t get the chance to star in big time movies very much. So when I got some email that said, hey do you want to be in a big movie, I thought that’s cool. So yeah, I was super happy.

So Jayma, was "Glee" a harder production than “The Smurfs”?

Yeah, "Glee" is a very big production. There’s lots of stuff that goes into making that show and we were still filming that when I started working on this movie. So it was tricky for a couple of weeks. I was kind of flying back and forth. But this was an equally big production. I believe bigger than “The Smurfs.”
NEIL: I don’t know. On "Glee" you guys work like crazy. They like work three episodes at the same time.
JAYMA: But working with invisible Smurfs makes you crazy too.

Why did you start acting?

NEIL: I couldn’t not act. I was like a little kid in this tiny town in New Mexico, this little ski resort town that had no real theatre, no real scene like that. But I was in the band, I played the xylophone, the piano.
JAYMA: Oh there’s a secret we didn’t know.
NEIL: Yeah. Then I was in the choir, the church choir and I lead the church choir. So I was this little kid who wanted to keep performing all the time. And then it just sort of turned itself into a bigger deal. It snowballed. That’s the word I was after.
JAYMA: I always wanted to be an actor, but we didn’t have acting classes and things like that in the small town I grew up in. But I tried to do anything I could. I was always making my own little videos, I was a wedding singer. I would sing at weddings and I played piano at weddings when I was really young, like 8. I’d get really nervous so I would wipe off the sweat underneath the piano. And then when I graduated from school, high school, that’s when I decided what I wanted to do.
NEIL: I auditioned for “Star Search” once. “Star Search’ use to be a show before "American Idol" where it was like a talent competition and it was very exciting and "Star Search" came to our little small town in New Mexico and my friend Amber Perry and I donned our best cowboy western duds. I was wearing a fringed jacket and I played at the keyboard and Amber Perry sang and we sang a duet like a Dolly Parton duet and we won. We were supposed to go on to regionals at “Star Search,” this was a big deal, it turns out the guy wasn’t from “Star Search,” he stole all our money like for our entrance fee and then left town.
JAYMA: We should find that guy.

Would you rather have been animated characters in “The Smurfs”?

JAYMA: No I was happy working with “The Smurfs" even though they’re very demanding creatures
NEIL: Never come out of their trailer. Me too. I’ve done voices on other movies and stuff before, and that’s fun, but you’re not on set you just go into a recording booth months later, during production and it’s just very technical. You don’t really feel like you’re part of the ensemble, the process.

Who is your favorite character from “The Smurfs”?

JAYMA: My mom made me watch “The Smurfs” when I was little because she liked the Smurfs. She would always make me watch the show so to spite her I would always say that Gargamel was my favorite and Azrael.
NEIL: Azrael is really funny in the movie. Did you see the movie? You saw it last night? Did you like it? Azrael is so funny especially her facial expressions. But my favorite Smurf is Crazy Smurf and I wouldn’t have said that until last night when I saw the movie. I use to say Jokey Smurf, with the boxes. I thought that was funny. Papa goes, "Sound the alarm, Crazy Smurf," and then the Crazy Smurf, his hat’s kind of crooked, he goes "Oweeee," that’s so sad.

If you could remake any movie which would it be?

JAYMA: That’s hard because I have favorite movies which my mind immediately goes to and I wouldn’t want to remake my favorite movies. What’s a really bad movie?
NEIL: That’s a great question Maybe, yeah you’re right. Right away you think of movies you like. Like I’d like to remake "Raiders of the Lost Ark" just because, so I can get to be Indiana Jones. I’d love to remake "Clue" movie. Have you’ve seen it?
JAYMA: I have. That’s a great movie.
NEIL: I love it, so I wouldn’t want to remake it. I’d say "Leprechaun 3".


We also spoke with actors Hank Azaria at the Sony Offices in Manhattan. He stars as Gargamel in the new movie “The Smurfs.”

If you’ve ever been in a film where you do a voice over, do you prefer physically being in the film?

Well in this movie I kind of got to do both at once. It was sort of like being a living cartoon. That was really fun. But they’re both good. I kind of like, it’s easier to be just a voice in the film, but it’s sort of fun at the end to see yourself in the movie. It’s easier to brag about yourself.

Do you like to be the voice of the Simpsons or the Smurfs?

Oh, that’s a tough one. It’s making me choose between “The Simpsons.” Yellow or blue. Well, I’ve been doing the Simpsons for over 20 years so my heart sort of lies there. Although the Smurfs have been around even longer than that. And I was certainly honored to be part of that. Gee I wouldn’t want to give up either. I think probably one big corporation or another would be upset with me. So I’m going to pass on that.

In real life do you like cats?

You know I’ve had a complicated relationship with cats in my life. I’ve lived with several cats, but they’re always my girlfriend’s cats at the time or my wife’s cat. So I’ve learned to love cats. I had a cat when I was young named Vinnie who was kind of mean and would sucker people in by rubbing on them and being sweet and we’d warn people, don’t pet the cat and then eventually they’d give in and pet him because he was so cute and then he would scratch the heck out of them. So I was a little fearful of cats.

If the Smurfs took on the Muppets in a battle, who would win?

Did you come up with these questions yourself? Because they’re very controversial... I would say the Smurfs would kick Muppet butt.

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