Smurfs: What You Need to Know about Characters and Voices

With about 100 different Smurfs running around Smurf village, give or take a Smurf, it can be a difficult task to keep everybody happy. You have to have patience, brains, maturity…and perhaps a beard. As the wise leader of the Smurfs, Papa Smurf truly embodies these qualities and knows how to handle his Smurfs. Papa can often be found with his spell book in his mushroom, concocting potions to protect his Smurfs from the evil wizard, Gargamel. When Papa’s magic foretells of impending disaster, he faces his biggest challenge yet: going toe-to-toe with Gargamel and leading the Smurfs safely through New York City!

Jonathan Winters

Comedian Jonathan Winters gives voice to Papa. “Papa is older and wiser. If Papa doesn’t have all the answers, he certainly has most of them,” says Winters.

“Papa is the leader, but he leads in a way that it’s all about teamwork,” Winters explains. “With Papa in charge, no Smurf is left behind.”

Winters has a history with the franchise: he had been the voice of Grandpa Smurf in the Hanna-Barbera series.

There’s something special about SMURFETTE. Whether it’s her beauty, sweet voice, charming personality, or just the fact that she is the ONLY girl among 100 boys, she just makes the other Smurfs go absolutely gaga. Originally created by Gargamel to trap the other Smurfs, Papa’s magic saved her and transformed her into a real Smurf. With a smart, savvy attitude, she’ll prove what a pint-sized punch she has when she comes face to face with her creator.

Katy Perry

As it happens, the filmmakers set their heart on Katy Perry for the role even before she spoke a single line of dialogue. “They had done a blind test where they took certain voices from previous interviews and matched them with the character,” Katy explains. “They liked my voice without even knowing who it was, and when they found out it was me, they thought that would work out. My personality was just a plus!”

Katy found an affinity with the character she plays. “They asked me to add my nuance to it – so I was able to be sassy and cute, a little mischievous and funny,” she says. “It’s really interesting, because I got to be a part of creating her character. It’s really fun – it’s basically my voice with some rocks thrown in it, like I had too many cups of coffee.”

Katy says that making the transition from world-famous recording artist to voiceover actress was an organic next step. “I use my voice every single day,” she explains, “and I feel very cartoony at times, just in the way I present myself. So It was a natural progression – something natural for me to do.”

Anton Yelchin

If it wasn’t for bad luck, CLUMSY wouldn’t have any luck at all – wherever he goes, calamity is sure to follow. With two left feet and an oversized hat and ears, Clumsy’s good intentions pave the road for trouble – and this time the road he chooses leads the Smurfs into a strange new place, New York City. But everyone has a hero inside of him, and when his other Smurfs need him, Clumsy will prove that you can be more than a name.

Anton Yelchin’s performance as Clumsy is a little different than the Clumsy that die-hard Smurf fans might remember. “I was familiar with Clumsy from the TV series, where he had that Southern twang,” he says. “I went back and watched that, and then Raja, Jordan and I talked about it. We decided to make Clumsy a little simpler, a little sweeter. His voice is pitched higher than my normal speaking voice – it’s full of joy, optimism, and enthusiasm for life. Clumsy isn’t trying to mess anything up for anybody – he’s just clumsy, and actually, he’s tired of being clumsy.”

“Clumsy is the heart and soul of the movie,” says Gosnell. “His journey is the most emotional. He’s kind of the put-upon younger brother – in a way, the cause of all their problems – trying to find his place in the big Smurf family. Anton has an incredibly youthful, soulful voice, perfect for our little Clumsy.”

If every village has its idiot, every village also has a BRAINY. Overeager and a bit over-educated, he’s a “know-it-all” who really doesn’t know it all. Brainy is Papa’s self-appointed right-hand Smurf, and even if he’s annoying at times with his encyclopedia-like knowledge, he might just be the Smurf you want to cast a spell when Papa’s not around.

Fred Armisen, best known for his “Saturday Night Live” characters, including President Obama, says Gosnell and Kerner made ideal collaborators. “They had a strong vision in mind for the character,” says Armisen. “It’s always a good thing to be working with people who care deeply about what they’re doing.”

Being a regular on “Saturday Night Live” surely puts Armisen around celebrities often enough. So who gets him star-struck? “Jonathan Winters,” says the funnyman. “I was really psyched to meet him. My whole life, I’ve seen him on TV – he was really cool.”

Easily distinguished by his kilt, roguish sideburns, rugged good looks and Scottish accent, GUTSY has the bravado to take any risk. A guy who Smurfs first and asks questions later, he’s quick to jump headlong into adventure for his fellow Smurfs.

Scotsman Alan Cumming

“I felt very proud to be the Scottish Smurf,” says Scotsman Alan Cumming. “It was a good and humorous responsibility – that I would be representing all my nation’s Smurf qualities.”

Cumming was even able to bring some Scottish slang to the part: “One word I started to use was ‘numpty’ – it means ‘idiot,’ like ‘you stupid numpty, you big numpty.’ I am singlehandedly reintroducing numpty – not just to the English language, but to the world.”

Gutsy was created for his role in The Smurfs. “He’s our action hero,” says Gosnell. “He’s eternally optimistic and brave, our rough and ready guy, the first to charge into any situation.”

Cumming has been known to “work blue” – that is, get a little risqué – in his films for adults, but this is his first time being blue on screen, in a role suitable for the whole family. “It’s fun to do a part that’s light, just a laugh,” Cumming says. “My niece and nephews are older now but they used to love it, like when I was in Spy Kids.”

Cumming says that voice acting represents a unique opportunity for the actor. “It’s so important, because your voice is the only human element in the character. When you start, there’s no film, no animation, and only your voice to guide the character. I quite enjoyed that,” he notes. “As you’re creating the character, you get to try out different ideas. Gutsy came fairly quickly – he’s Scottish, but a gruffer kind of Scottish than my usual speaking voice. As you go on, you get into a groove and you find the character.”


Though they recorded their roles separately, voicing a Smurf became a sort of badge of honor for the actors. “I met Katy Perry at a party, and it was funny to be able to meet someone and say, ‘Oh, you’re Smurfette,’ and she goes, ‘Oh, you’re Gutsy.’”

Before you think that every Smurf is all about happiness, sunshine, and rainbows, you need to meet GROUCHY. He smurfs up on the wrong side of the bed……every day. He hates sunshine, rainbows make him sick, and happiness makes him unhappy. However, somewhere underneath all the scowling and grouching is a heart of gold….although, he probably hates gold too.

George Lopez

“The Smurfs is a worldwide franchise – they’re los Pitufos in Spanish – so I saw the Smurfs bilingually, when I was growing up,” says George Lopez.

Lopez says he simply dialed his own inner crank up to 11 to play the role. “I had no coffee, I picked the busiest time to get to the studio, I made sure I had bad breath. And I have a daughter, she’s 15, and that’ll keep you grouchy all by itself. When I first saw Grouchy, he had his arms crossed, eyebrows down, and I thought it was just a bluish resemblance to how I normally look.”

Lopez has voiced several roles in films, and for The Smurfs, he re-teams with director Raja Gosnell (following their collaboration on Beverly Hills Chihuahua). “In doing voice work, I think the soul comes through,” says Lopez. Like any on-camera role, the part is not only the words on the page supplied by the writers, but, as Lopez puts it, “the way you interpret it, as you would speak to somebody. You’re not just reading a script – you’re connecting with the audience.”