The man known as NPH is hilarious in this film and the woman who plays his pregnant wife, Glee‘s Jayma Mays is equally as great.
GlobalGrind caught up with these two to get all the juice on filming The Smurfs movie. We asked Neil about his new twins, rocking out to Run DMC, as well as his use of the slang word dope!
This might be just the perfect pair to prevent the movie blues. Check out the interview below.
What would you do if Smurfs actually invaded your house in real life?
JM: I would probably embrace it and say this is great, this isn’t weird at all that little blue men are in my house.
NPH: I’ll probably taze them and keep them in a small box and quickly find a reality show and try to profit from it.
Neil, earlier this morning you tweeted that it’s your twin’s 9-month birthday. You said it would be dope. We just wanted to know, if after 9 months you could name them and give them Smurf names what would the twins names be?
NPH: I think Gedian would be Stout Smurf because he’s like roar roar, he’s like a tank. TankerSmurf Harper is like, beautiful Smurf. She’s very eye batter right now. Very wanting to hug and wanting to be smiling and get a smile back. She’s very girly.
What’s been your favorite part about being a father while we’re talking about your twins?
NPH: The consistent change. Before babies I worked very hard to make sure I understood my surroundings and sort of figured out where I fit in the world whether it was at work or in a social situation. But with kids, the rule is you can’t really do that. They dictate and change so much, so you just have to go with the flow more and be present. Not have big expectations.
Have they had any major first’s recently?
NPH: No not yet, I’m waiting for them to crawl.
JM: Didn’t they go to jail?
NPH: Their first walk in jail didn’t they have it? One of them got locked in jail, but no; they’re great, but no big announcements. (Laughs).
Were you guys fans of the Smurfs in the ’80s cartoons?
NPH: I was, but I wasn’t a rabid collector of figurines and what not. Saturday morning cartoons with overly sugary cereal were a normal thing back in the ’80s.
JM: Well, I had a different experience; I was forced to watch the Smurfs. My mom was a big big fan of them and a rabid collector. Every Saturday morning I would come down and she would sit me in front of the television and say, ‘You’re going to watch the Smurfs.’ So just to spite her I would always say Gargamel was my favorite. That’s so evil to say that to my mother. But I secretly loved them. They were definitely in my house, sheets, cups, the whole thing. I know it sounds crazy, but my mom isn’t crazy. She is quite normal, I promise.
Are there any funny stories working with Sofia?
NPH: Sofia Vergara is hilarious. My only concern, since it’s a family movie and that adults will be amused by it and especially by her, that the kids will be watching it. I had no idea that they will be able to understand the words she was saying while we were filming. During our scenes, she’s walking and she’s talking and I don’t know what she just said. She’s just her own force of nature. That was the only thing I kept laughing at. Like how can our kids know what you are saying? I’m a big fan, she’s really good with the improv because of Modern Family, the last year and a half with that. They work under a go with the flow style. So if we screwed up or something got bumped or if we wanted to adlib, she was right on track all the time.
Neil got to rock out with the Smurfs. If you got a chance to rock out with the Smurfs on Rock Band what would it be?
JM: I’ll probably go back to my roots and do something around there. Smurf Miners Daughter.
Who’s better in magic you or Gargamel?
NPH: Gargamel, he’s got a wand for f***’s sake.
Do either of you have burning Smurf questions that are still kind of out there?
JM: I don’t have any Smurf questions.
NPH: Who’s shagging Smurfette really? I want to know what’s going on late at night in Smurf village. Does she get passed from Smurf from Smurf? Is she a one Smurf girl. Is Papa Smurf involved?
If you guys could play Smurfs yourselves what personalities would you have?
JM: I get anxiety when I get that question. Maybe I’ll be called Anxiety Smurf. Running around, frazzled all the time.
NPH: Snuff Smurf, I’ll end the suffrage of all dying Smurfs everywhere. That was a dark answer. I say Magical Smurf because I like magic.
Jayma, since your mom is such a fanatic Smurf fan, did she freak out or get to go on the set?
JM: She totally freaked out, so I wouldn’t let her come to the set. I was way too scared. She’s actually coming to the premiere. My parents actually want to come dressed up as Smurfs. I’m like no, please don’t do that. My husband is like yes, please do that. I picked out a dress for her.
Neil to us, it seems like you made a seamless transition from when we saw you as a young actor to doing what you do now. How did you navigate that so fast, that it appeared so seamless?
NPH: Wow, thank you, I don’t know. I don’t really have an answer for that. I’ve been really fortunate to go from interesting chapter to interesting chapter. I’ve always enjoyed the process; I’ve enjoyed working over the end result or of what it achieves. I’m more interested in doing the work, maybe that’s the difference. I don’t really know, but I know I’ve been really fortunate. And I guess I’ve done more different types of things. I did theater for a little while, I did TV for some time, and then I did like awkward television and movies for a while. I think maybe the diversification is good. It’s a hard question for me to answer.
What’s it like to be a part of something that’s so enduring as the Smurfs have been over the past few decades and to know that you are part of that? Down the road your children might be able to see this and history is going to continue.
JM: Well, I was really excited at first obviously because I grew up in a Smurfs household but I did get a little apprehensive after awhile because once I was cast so many people started coming and saying how they were big Smurfs fans and that they had like 500 figurines locked in their basement or crazy things like that. I did get a little nervous when we started filming. I wanted to make sure we were doing this franchise justice.
NPH: Yes, there are a lot of rabid Smurfs fans out there. They’re anxious to see the movie and know what’s happening. I was more concerned to make sure it wasn’t just a kid’s movie. I really wanted to make sure that if we were going to be a part of it, that the dialog was smarter, that the lessons learned were appropriate and not just sort of a pandery children’s flick. So we were a part of it script-wise with our dialogue scenes to make sure it didn’t feel real cut and pasted. And that it made sense not only to families who watched it, but for people who loved the Smurfs in the ’80s. And I know now on a date and think it would be a cool movie to see, or parents to kids themselves would enjoy it on another level. So the ireverence, the song being annoying and Hank’s comedy, bring a different demographic.
Speaking of the songs, do you know why they went with the Run DMC’s song “Walk this way” for the Rock Band scene?
NPH: While we were doing it, Raja Gosnell (director) kept asking me what songs would be good. They were like, that’s a whole other world they got to figure out, it’s the right tempo or provides the right musical breaks then get approved by the band. Then get approved by the studio to pay the amount of money it cost for the song. Apparently that’s the one they went with.
Were you a Run DMC fan growing up?
NPH: Yeah sure, that was one of the main videos I remember being played on MTV all the time. Them smashing in the wall, I thought that was cool. That scene I probably was the most concerned about in filming, because in these types of movies there tends to be a big musical number for no reason at all. Suddenly all the bears in the forest start dancing the Macarena and you are wondering what in the world you are watching. Suddenly I feared that this was going to be that moment. So I wanted it to be less choreographed. It was originally thought of as a more choreographed number where Patrick and the Smurfs bond by dance. Which sort of made me panic because I almost feel like if you are going to be playing this game, you actually have to play this game. You know the game involves staring at the screen and involves hitting buttons that match the buttons going down the thing. So I didn’t want it to turn into some fantastical scene where we’re all just laughing and playing because that wouldn’t even make sense. We had some back and forths about that. I think it turned out well.
How are your real life Rock Band skills?
NPH: Pretty Good. Terrible with the drums, that’s a tough one. But the bass, I’m good with the bass. I’m good with the wambie bar, I represent.
JM: I don’t ever play, I’m boring.
NPH: I don’t ever play is the better, more truthful answer. I love technology. I buy all of the stuff when it first comes out. I brought the Kinect but never connected it. It was in the box collecting dust and I finally ended up giving it to someone because there is a new technology that came out. I’m a fan, but not really a player.
Your vocabulary, your slang vocabulary has been awesome. You’ve dropped like 14 slang words through this whole interview and you used dope on Twitter. If you can Smurf any word, what would it be?
NPH: Smurfsta, I think I could be the whitest person I’ve ever met. So when I drop mad skills words it would be a Smurf-off.