During the interview, Hank Azaria seemed to be most pleased with being “stretched” in his acting performance ...
By STACY STEWART
On July 29th you will once again be able to enjoy the work of four-time Emmy Award-winner, Hank Azaria, a native New Yorker now residing in Los Angeles in, ‘The Smurfs.”
He has performed multiple voices during the animated series ‘The Simpsons,’ performing characters such as Moe the bartender, Comic Book Guy and Professor Frink, also serving as the voice actor for several other characters on the show, or perhaps you will remember him from his live action appearances in the movie ‘Heat’ or as Phoebe's scientist boyfriend, David in the highly successful television show 'Friends’, but this summer, you can now prepare to watch him as the evil wizard Gargamel.
With success spanning as a well respected stand-up comedian, all the way to that of the big screen, the multifaceted Hank Azaria, also known as ‘the man of 999 voices’, will once again captivate audiences, along side co-stars Neil Patrick Harris (“Doogie Houser”), Sofia Vergara, “Glee’s” Jayma Mays and the quickly recognizable voice over talents of George Lopez, as he skillfully portrays the essence of the evil wizard Gargamel; chasing the Smurfs out of the safe haven of their village, into a magical portal, and into the busy streets of New York’s Central Park.
During the interview, Hank Azaria seemed to be most pleased with being “stretched” in his acting performance, as the character Gargamel challenged his ability to over exaggerate both his voice and body language, stating “…Gargamel is hunched over quite a bit in this film and during rehearsal, I didn’t feel comfortable, it felt awkward, but once I saw it on film, the body language was perfect for a villain.”
Audiences will also be please with the overall appearance of Gargamel, as Azaria also noted, “ I think many will pay attention to the big, bushy eye brows and the big teeth… they really where important in getting the facial expressions across that Gargamel offered up.”
Along with adjusting to the body movements of Gargamel, Azaria also found himself learning how to adapt to the 3D hybrid animation of this film, as Azrael, his sarcastic, side kick cat, appears in many of the shots with him, but in reality, he’s really not there, “it’s first of all already difficult to talk to a cat, and it’s even harder, when the cat isn’t really there,” he said. Azaria says that though working with live animals always requires patience, the payoff is worth it, as every now and then, the “real” cat would actually give a perfect meow, right on cue.
Though Azrael (the cat) is mystical to work with, Azaria is excited to play such an important role for a new generation in this film, “…something’s are so old, there new,” he states, knowing that part of the appeal of this film is that it is cross-generational, intended for the ‘80s children that watched it on television, who are now adults and will bring their little ones, to view it on the big screen.
The enchantment of the Smurf world and vibrant animation will be enjoyed by audiences of all ages, as they cheer on their favorite Smurf, or double over in laughter as Gargamel takes them on several exciting adventures, and Hank Azaria, being a man of many voices, is just the guy, for this mystical ride, “Gargamel is evil and pretty proud of it,” says Azaria, “he is obsessed with Smurfs and needs their magical blue essence to make himself more powerful.” The question is, will he get it?