The filmmakers cast Katy Perry without knowing it was her: "They had done a blind test where they took certain voices from previous interviews and matched them with the character. 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 Perry, who voices Smurfette in this film and The Smurfs 2 (2013), wasn't allowed to watch the original The Smurfs (1981) series as a child. Her parents were highly conservative pastors, and didn't consider it to be good for their children.
According to Belgian cartoonist Peyo (Pierre Culliford), the Smurfs never take off their caps. However, they do so in the movie, by using them as parachutes when jumping down from an apartment balcony. Relatives of Peyo demanded that for that scene, the Smurfs are seen only from above or below.
The town of Júzcar (Malaga, Spain), one of the "White Towns of Andalusia", was chosen by Sony as the place of worldwide release for the film. For the occasion, all the white houses and buildings were painted blue and stayed that color until the end of summer 2011.
According to the Sony Pictures Imageworks animators, the Smurfs are seven and a half inches. This height was decided upon after numerous tests: any larger, they would no longer appear as the lovable creatures, for which they are known; any smaller, it would be difficult for them to relate to real-world objects and people.
Anton Yelchin, who voices Clumsy Smurf, described his role as a little sweeter than in the original cartoon: "Clumsy isn't trying to mess anything up for anybody, he's just clumsy, and actually, he's tired of being clumsy."
The first scene in the film is a pan over a medieval land to the Smurf village, featuring Smurfs riding storks. This is an homage to the opening credits of The Smurfs (1981), which featured the same shots.
Out of the one hundred one smurfs, only twenty-one are mentioned by name (in that order): Farmer, Greedy, Handy, Clumsy, Baker, Narrator, Chef, Jokey, Grouchy, Gutsy, Papa, Smurfette, Crazy, Brainy, Panicky, Hefty, Painter, Harmony, Complimentary, Passive-Aggressive, and Vanity (the last one is named only in the credits, though).
To prepare for the role of Gargamel, Hank Azaria donned a prosthetic nose, ears, buck teeth, eyebrows and a wig (he had to shave his head to accommodate the wig). He wore the wig when he came into recording episodes of The Simpsons (1989)'s twenty-second season during recording breaks on this movie.
Hank Azaria is the third actor to play Gargamel. Paul Winchell voiced Gargamel until the last season (1989-1990) of The Smurfs (1981), and Michael Bell took his place after Winchell allegedly walked out of his role, due to issues with the season nine scripts.
There is a Smurf named "Panicky", that was supposed to appear in the film, and was even give a voice actor, Adam Wylie, but he was only mentioned by Gutsy in dialogue. However, he does appear in merchandise sold by McDonald's. Wylie voices the character in the sequel.
From the voice actors in this film, Jonathan Winters (Papa Smurf) and Frank Welker (Azrael) had appeared in The Smurfs (1981). Winters had voiced Grandpa Smurf, and Welker had voiced Hefty, Poet, Clockwork, and Wild Smurf.
The Smurfs originally started out as a comic book, by Pierre "Peyo" Culliford. In an homage of this, a "Smurfs" comic book plays a pivotal role in the film. The book that the Smurfs find at Mr. Wong's Magical Emporium, "L'Histoire des Schtroumpfs", includes artwork by Pierre "Peyo" Culliford from his stories, "The Smurf's Apprentice", "The Fake Smurf", and "The Hundredth Smurf".
Producer Jordan Kerner had been wanting to make a film adaptation of The Smurfs since 1997, and obtained the rights in 2002, after Pierre "Peyo" Culliford's heirs were impressed with a draft of Kerner's adaptation, Charlotte's Web (2006).
For the first time in Smurfs history, Brainy Smurf is depicted with freckles. He is not, however, the first Smurf with freckles, as the comic version of Sassette has freckles. The Smurfs (1981) cartoon version (in which she made her debut) did not.
The height of most Smurfs is commonly described as "haut comme trois pommes", a French idiom which directly translated reads "three apples high". Contrary to popular belief, this phrase was never a precise scientific measurement. It only means that something is really small, and an English equivalent would be "knee-high to a puppy".
The depictions of Farmer Smurf (green overalls and straw hat) and Handy Smurf (blue overalls and a red pencil held on one of his ears) are based on their comic versions since the 1990s. However, unlike the comic depiction, Farmer does not wear wooden shoes (called clogs), but green trousers that cover his feet.
A blue moon is an extra full moon that appears in a month (ie the second full moon in a month, when normally full moons occur only once a month). The phrase has nothing to do with the actual color of the moon, although the moon appearing with a tinge of blue may occur in certain atmospheric conditions (from volcanic eruptions or exceptionally large fires, which leave particles in the atmosphere).
At some point in the film, Gutsy, Smurfette, and Gargamel all make homages to another movie character their character resembles: Gutsy, the Scottish Smurf, yells "Freedom!" like William Wallace does in Braveheart (1995). When Smurfette shows the other Smurfs her new dress, it is blown upwards like Marilyn Monroe's in The Seven Year Itch (1955), while Smurfette tries to hold it down. Gargamel, being a wizard, is linked to the character Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), as he spots a moth and asks it to bring him eagles to rescue him like the way Gandalf escapes his imprisonment from Saruman.
Jordan Kerner was Dean of the School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (U.N.C.S.A.). Nearly eighty U.N.C.S.A. film students interned on the film during its various stages of production.
One of the co-Producers of this film is Véronique Culliford, the daughter of Pierre "Peyo" Culliford. She is the President and founder of I.M.P.S. (International Merchandising Promotion & Services) which is responsible for the licensing and promotion of "The Smurfs" intellectual property.
The Smurfs (along with Gargamel and Azrael) travel from medieval times to modern times. This is based on The Smurfs (1981)'s ninth season, where the Smurfs would travel in time to different eras. The main time-travellers in both this film and that season are Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Brainy Smurf, Clumsy Smurf, and Grouchy Smurf.
The film was initially set up at Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies, where it was planned as a fully animated film, which would have been the first of a trilogy. The project switched to Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation in June 2008.
This is the third blue-skinned character Alan Cumming has portrayed. The first was the mutant Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler) in X2: X-Men United (2003), and the second was the alien Judas Caretaker in Riverworld (2010).
When Patrick googles "Smurf", the search results include links to a Wikipedia article, "Myths - Smurfs" at www.uncommonmyths.com, "Build Your Own Smurf Trap" at www.craftsfamily.com, "The Blue Smurf - a Belgian pub" at www.thebluesmurf.com, and "Smurf Clip Art" at www.clipartgalore.com. The sidebar ads say "Belgian Eats - NYC" and "Feeling Blue?" With the exception of Wikipedia, all of these sites are fictional, and their domain names aren't even registered to anyone.
John Oliver (voice of Vanity Smurf) later would go onto voice Zazu the Hornbill in the Live Action The Lion King (2019) released 8 years later. In the Original Animated The Lion King (1994), Zazu was voiced by Rowan Atkinson, also appeared in a live action film based off a Hanna-Barbera Cartoon, where he played Mondavarious in Scooby-Doo (2002).
Gutsy mistakes someone dressed as the Statue of Liberty for a green goblin. This is a reference to the Green Goblin, an enemy of Spider-Man. Columbia Pictures produced live-action adaptations of Spider-Man and the Smurfs.