Hank Azaria Talks The Smurfs And How He Became A Living Cartoon

After opening last week in theaters, The Smurfs have already raked in $50 million worldwide at the box office per Box Office Mojo.  Not too shabby for a bunch of little blue creatures, and their arch enemy Gargamel, who have managed to bounce back in full force more than twenty years later.

Sitting down with the voice behind the evil antagonist, MovieLine spoke to Hank Azaria about his role in the successful live action/CGI flick that was directed by Raja Gosnell.

Talking to the actor, who is also famously known for his portrayal of not only Moe, but Apu and Chief Wiggum in The Simpsons, Azaria touched on shaping the iconic villain in modern times.

“It’s funny you ask that. I realized on set, kind of at the director’s urging, that I wanted to give Gargamel some different colors other than losing his mind when he sees a Smurf. So I wanted to make him sarcastic at times, and kind of off the cuff, and a little laid back. I even didn’t want to commit to an evil laugh, feeling that that was just clichéd. And then I discovered really quickly, as you just said, that there is no way to play Gargamel without truly committing. Truth be told, the more passionate and more out there I got, the better it seemed to work. I couldn’t deny it. I’d look at playback and say, “Yep, that was better.”
With live action pictures taking over, and Azaria being a seasoned star who has mainly worked in animations, the Queens native also talked about the challenges of becoming a “living cartoon”.

“It does. I felt sort of uniquely qualified to do something like that. As a cartoon actor, you start with a voice because it’s really all you have — even if it’s your own, or whatever character voice you come up with. I’ve gotten to do that a lot in film, too: play oddly voiced, usually half-naked characters for some reason. But! Clothed or not, you start with the voice. Or I do anyway. And then the body tends to follow that. In this, you have a prosthetic helping you out, what you look like. But you are a living cartoon. I found that within that prosthetic, for example, you almost had to work face like a mask. It’s why, in the end, I went for “the bigger, the better,” because things wouldn’t read if you were subtle with them. So I spent a lot of time as a living cartoon, which I found cool since I’ve spent so much time being an actual cartoon. It was fun being a living cartoon. I enjoyed it.”

Check out Hank Azaria in his role as Gargamel below with a clip from The Smurfs.

1 Comment

  1. Michael Calvert via Facebook

    August 4, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I am a huge fan.

Leave a Reply

Latest Videos

Watch: Benedict Cumberbatch Film the Smaug Motion Capture for ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’
Though Peter Jackson‘s movie adaptations of The Hobbit haven’t received the same critical acclaim as his films based on the book’s sequel, The Lord of the Rings (turning a 300 page book into 9+ hours of film tends to do that), fans are still eagerly anticipating the release of the final part of The Hobbit […]
Watch: Daniel Radcliffe on the Differences Between American and British Theater Audiences
Though moviegoers can see Daniel Radcliffe in the fantasy film Horns, which opens today, Broadway fans will have to wait a bit longer. Radcliffe is an unapologetic fan of Broadway — he has starred in Equus, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and The Cripple of Inishmaan — but he hasn’t yet made […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-anna-gunn-jacki-weaver-and.jpg
Watch: Anna Gunn, Jacki Weaver and Virginia Kull on ‘Gracepoint’ and Strong Female Roles on TV
The actresses also speak candidly about how they feel about their characters in the series and why its important for TV to feature series with strong female leads.Check out the conversation above!
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-cristin-milioti-talks-a-to.jpg
Watch: Cristin Milioti Talks ‘A to Z’, ‘Once’ and ‘How I Met Your Mother’
Few actresses have the kind of rise as Cristin Milioti has had in the last few years. A virtual unknown in 2011, she became a bona fide Broadway star in the 2012 hit Once, appeared in a supporting role in the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street, and was featured as the titular mother […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-bryan-cranstons-acting-adv.jpg
Watch: Bryan Cranston’s Acting Advice
With Breaking Bad: The Complete Series Barrel being released on Blu-ray with all kinds of goodies today, it gives us yet another opportunity to reflect on the series’ star Bryan Cranston and all of the incredible advice he has offered actors in the wake of his success. In a video he filmed in 2013 for […]