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Neil Patrick Harris Talks About 'The Smurfs'

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Neil Patrick Harris in 'The Smurfs'

Neil Patrick Harris in 'The Smurfs.'

© Sony Pictures Animation

Neil Patrick Harris stars in the live-action/CG film The Smurfs, a comedy marking the first time the little blue guys have appeared in 3D on the big screen. Directed by Raja Gosnell, The Smurfs finds Harris playing an ad executive whose wife, Grace (Jayma Mays), is pregnant with the couple's first child. And as if preparing for the arrival of their first bundle of joy wasn't enough to keep them busy, strange little blue creatures show up to wreak havoc on their lives.

Harris' popularity continues to soar, but it was the R-rated comedy Harold and Kumar that helped put him back in the spotlight. Harris followed that up with other TV and film projects, including a starring role in the TV series, How I Met Your Mother. However, looking back on his Harold and Kumar role, Harris confides, "I thought that that would have some lasting ramifications in a negative way and it really hasn’t. I actually thought I’m so hardcore in the Harold & Kumar franchise that I wouldn’t think that Comcast would say, 'He’d be okay to do commercials for our cable boxes. He snorts coke off of strippers’ a**es.' But that didn’t seem to happen."

Smurfing Out with NPH

If you've ever had one of those songs stuck in your head, you'll know how Harris occasionally felt on the set. "Yeah, definitely, they were singing it. The Smurf song got sung a lot during the filming," said Harris at the LA press day for the family-friendly film.

Filming a CG heavy movie can get a little tedious for the actors on set, but Harris says it was actually a very happy environment to be in. "Sets on big movies are very professional because you’re dealing with all these little factions," said Harris. "You’ve got these really good lighting guys that when it’s their time, they own the set. Everyone backs away and they do all the lighting and the propping and the stuff. Then when it’s the CG guys’ time, everyone stops and they bring in cameras and everyone has to sit down and everyone looks at the iPhone for 30-40 seconds while they map the whole room with 3D cameras. So it was a very respectful set. There were no tantrums."

And with Harris recently becoming a proud dad for the first time, the timing of starring in a kid-friendly production couldn't have been much better. "When I got the offer we had just started the pregnancy process and so that was kind of an interesting timing moment in my mind," reveals Harris. "I thought, 'Oh, this is interesting that this is happening now, that while I’m filming the movie I’ll be dealing with ultrasound pictures in my own life. When the movie is out, I will have kids so I’ll be an established father and I think that would add some kind of relevance and validity to the idea that I can play a dad.'"

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Behind the scenes of The Smurfs with Jayma Mays and Hank Azaria

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