A Minute With: Neil Patrick Harris about "Smurfs"

Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:09pm EDT
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By Iain Blair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Neil Patrick Harris may be the most versatile star in showbiz. The Emmy-award winner can sing and dance, perform voice-overs, host award shows, and still finds to act in the TV show "How I Met Your Mother."

Now, he's working with little people in family film "The Smurfs," which mixes live-action characters with the blue animated creatures made famous in the cartoons.

The film hits theaters Friday with Harris playing a marketing executive whose life and career are thrown into chaos when the Smurfs magically appear in his New York apartment.

Harris spoke to Reuters about his outrageous behavior in the "Harold and Kumar" movies and how he avoided the traps of Hollywood stardom as a child actor.

Q: Were you a Smurfs fan as a kid?

A: "I watched the cartoons, but I wasn't a rabid fan like a lot of people, and I've been wildly surprised at how many people I know are secret Smurf freaks. They all wanted to know, did I have to be painted blue? And which Smurf am I playing? So I had to keep explaining, I'm not a Smurf in the movie."

Q: How hard was it acting with creatures that don't exist?

A: "It was hard, especially at first. But I'm a very technical actor and I love all the stuff like green screen. But then you don't know how far to push it physically. I found the bigger you go the better -- but that's so counter-intuitive when you're on stage with no one there. It seems so silly, making all these faces to nobody, but later when you watch it with the Smurfs animated in, it makes perfect sense."   Continued...

<p>Cast member Neil Patrick Harris poses next to a smurf mascot during a photocall for his film "The Smurfs" in Cancun July 10, 2011.</p>