Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation announced today that production has begun on the live-action/computer animated hybrid 3D family comedy The Smurfs 2, the sequel to the 2011 worldwide hit that took in over $560 million at the worldwide box office.
Returning from the first film for an all-new adventure that takes the Smurfs to Europe are Director Raja Gosnell, Producer Jordan Kerner, Executive Producer Ezra Swerdlow, and stars Neil Patrick Harris as Patrick Winslow, Jayma Mays as Grace Winslow, Sofia Vergara as Odile, and Hank Azaria as Gargamel. Brendan Gleeson joins the cast as Patrick Winslow’s stepfather, Victor Doyle. Behind the microphone, as the voices of the Smurfs, all of the principal voice cast members will reprise their roles, including Katy Perry as Smurfette, Jonathan Winters as Papa Smurf, Alan Cumming as Gutsy, Fred Armisen as Brainy, George Lopez as Grouchy and Anton Yelchin as Clumsy; in addition, John Oliver, who took a cameo voice role as Vanity Smurf in the first film, returns to voice his now primary role. Additionally behind the microphone, Christina Ricci and JB Smoove will voice the new Smurf-like naughty characters, Vexy and Hackus, respectively.
The screenplay is by J. David Stem & David N. Weiss and Karey Kirkpatrick and Jay Scherick & David Ronn, based on the characters and works of Peyo. The Smurfs 2 is scheduled to be released in U.S. theaters on July 31, 2013.
In this sequel to the hybrid live action/animated family blockbuster comedy The Smurfs, the evil wizard Gargamel creates a couple of mischievous Smurf-like creatures called the Naughties that he hopes will let him harness the all-powerful, magical Smurf-essence. But when he discovers that only a real Smurf can give him what he wants and only a secret spell that Smurfette knows can turn the Naughties into real Smurfs Gargamel kidnaps Smurfette and brings her to Paris, where he has been winning the adoration of millions as the world’s greatest sorcerer. It’s up to Papa, Clumsy, Grouchy, and Vanity to return to our world, reunite with their human friends Patrick and Grace Winslow, and rescue her! Will Smurfette, who has always felt different from the other Smurfs, find a new connection with the Naughties Vexy and Hackus or will the Smurfs convince her that their love for her is True Blue?
Commenting on the announcement, Kerner said, “We’ve brought the entire live-action and voice cast into the sequel. It’s a real thrill to ‘get the Smurf village back together’ for another adventure. The same holds true for the crew. We are so deep in talent we know a fine film will result. It’s like visiting with old friends just some slightly smaller than others.”
Many crew members from the original film are reuniting, including Director of Photography Phil Méheux, Production Designer Bill Boes, Editor Sabrina Plisco, Costume Designer Rita Ryack and Visual Effects Supervisor Richard R. Hoover. The visual effects and animation are by Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc.