I'm a little surprised at the building anticipation for The Smurfs , the CG adaptation of the Belgian comic / '80s kid show. Nothing against the little blue guys, but when a black and white image of the first CGI Smurf leaked onto the Internets last week, I was confused by how quickly it spread. It looked exactly like what a CGI Smurf would and should look like -- minus the benefit of its color tone, so why the fascination?

Today's news, however, is a bit more substantial. UGO has pegged Jonathan Winters as the man who will don the digital white beard and red cap to voice Papa Smurf. It's unclear at this point how prevalent of a speaking part Papa Smurf will have this time around (as I recall, he was always present but never really the focus of the Hanna-Barbera series), but regardless of involvement this seems like a great call. Winters has been largely absent from the motion picture world for a number of years now, but it's nice to see him return to voice work at the age of 84. (The original voice of Papa Smurf was the late, great Don Messick.)

If you recognize the name and face but can't peg the prolific Winters, think of him as a softer Orsen Welles. As with Welles, Winters tends to voice characters with a large presence but, unlike Welles, his voice is more the endearing Grandfather than it is the robust curmudgeon. I'd say that's a snug fit for leader of the peace-loving little guys. As for the rest of the cast...well, we'll just have to wait and see who director Raja Gosnell picks. Personally, I wouldn't mind if Sony Pictures Animation rekindled some of their Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs magic and cast Anna Farris as Smurfette and Bill Hader as the villainous Gargamel. Who'd you like to hear?
categories Cinematical