'Smurfs' still chased by same old villain in new film

LOS ANGELES

Actor Hank Azaria turns almost unrecognizable in his role as the villain Gargamel in the new family comedy.

He thinks moviegoers will understand he's playing an over-the-top character, but realizes his evil wizard alter ego may scare some kids.

"That was part of my job was to frighten children. In a thing like this, we're being glib but you have to be really conscious. You want to be scary but not too scary," described Azaria.

"You don't want to freak a child out and have him never come back to the movies for 10 years. You want to be funny for the adults, but not alienate the kids with anything too adult, so it's actually a lot of thought that goes into something as ridiculous as this," Azaria added.

A major part of Azaria's ridiculousness is from sharing most of his scenes with a cat.

"There was a lot of comic potential for Gargamel and the cat. They basically were like an old married couple," Azaria said.

Azaria endured quite a makeup process to transform into Gargamel. He said the best part of that was taking it off at the end of the day.

"That's the thing about getting in makeup like that. When it comes off at the end of the day, you feel like George Clooney," he said.

"The Smurfs" hits theaters July 29.

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