Featuring the voices of Demi Lovato, Rainn Wilson, Joe Manganiello, Jack McBrayer, Danny Pudi, Michelle Rodriguez, Ellie Kemper, Ariel Winter, with Mandy Patinkin and Julia Roberts. Directed by Kelly Asbury. Produced by Jordan Kerner and Mary Ellen Bauder Andrews. Written by Stacey Harman and Pamela Ribon. Based on the characters and works of Peyo. Executive producers are Raja Gosnell and Ben Waisbren. Music by Christopher Lennertz. Imagery and Animation by Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc. Featuring “I’m a Lady” performed by Meghan Trainor.
For Smurfs: The Lost Village, the filmmakers went back to the drawing board to rediscover the classic, magical look of the Smurfs. “We went through the early comic books and studied the work of Peyo to try to find a visual look for the movie that honored the origins of the Smurfs and how they really look,” says Kelly Asbury, the film’s director. Asbury previously directed the hits Shrek 2 and Gnomeo and Juliet. “That was important to how we conceived each location, the look, the design of the Smurfs themselves, their mushroom houses, the colors.”
The film is loaded with fun as the filmmakers take the Smurfs into the vibrant, exciting, and dangerous world of the Forbidden Forest. “It’s a land they’ve never experienced before – it’s beautiful but full of surprises, dangers, and fun,” says Asbury. “Dragonflies – real fire-breathing dragons that are fun and happy until you make them mad. Flowers that look and smell beautiful but will eat you if you’re not careful. Kissing plants that assault you with kisses.”
Asbury says that the familiar world of Smurf Village and the new worlds created for the film all have the same original inspiration: Peyo – the Belgian artist Pierre Culliford who created the Smurfs back in 1958.. “Peyo’s work has a buoyance and a lightness of being. There was an effortlessness to the way he drew,” Asbury explains. “For the Forbidden Forest and the Lost Village, we wanted it to feel like something that the audience was experiencing with the Smurfs for the first time, but it had to feel like a part of the Smurfs’ world. Darker colors, deeper colors, rich shadows, lots of lush, unusual colored foliage, glow-in-the-dark plants, animals, bugs – all these things were different – but it had the Peyo shapes and language in common.”
The filmmakers also rethought the humor for the film. “We wanted adults and kids to laugh together at the humor, the way they do at the Peyo comics, rather than to have different kinds of jokes – double-entendre humor for the adults and something else for the kids,” says Asbury. “Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Laurel and Hardy, the Three Stooges – everybody laughs at these types of gags and that kind of humor, and that’s what we tried to imbue into the movie –timeless with a new twist on it.”
Of course, as funny as the movie is, the Smurfs have always stood for the timeless ideas of harmony and peace, and that was not lost on the director. “The message of the movie is really one of teamwork,” says Asbury. “It takes a Smurf Village, if you will, individually and together, to bring everyone together to act as one. It’s about accepting each other’s differences and complementing each other for the greater good. I think that’s a universal message and one that is pertinent today.”
Opening across the Philippines on Friday, March 31, Smurfs: The Lost Village is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.