Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation have tapped Raja Gosnell (Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Scooby-Doo) to direct Smurfs, the live-action/animated film based on the legendary blue characters created by Peyo, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach, presidents of Columbia Pictures, Bob Osher, president of digital production for Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Hannah Minghella, president of production for Sony Pictures Animation. The film will be released in 3-D and 2-D formats on December 17, 2010.
Smurfs will be produced by Jordan Kerner (Charlotte's Web, George of the Jungle) and written by J. David Stem and David N. Weiss ("Shrek" 2 and 3) and Audrey Wells (George of the Jungle).
Commenting for the announcement, Kerner said, "With Raja coming aboard, we now have a brilliant director who has proven time and again that he has a deft touch in blending the worlds of physical comedy and honest emotion with both live action and photo real animated characters. Our three-apple-high heroes are in good hands, and we feel absolutely, positively Smurfy to be working with him."
Raja Gosnell started his career as an editor, cutting such blockbuster films as Home Alone, Pretty Woman and Mrs. Doubtfire, among many others. When John Hughes suggested Gosnell helm Home Alone 3, the talented editor successfully took on his new role as director. He has since directed Never Been Kissed, Big Momma's House, the hugely popular Scooby-Doo and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Yours, Mine and Ours, and, most recently, the hit film Beverly Hills Chihuahua.