Bad wizard Gargamel has created the Naughties – Vexy and Hackus -- and all he needs is Papa’s secret magic spell to turn his Naughties into ‘real Smurfs’ and have unlimited Smurf essence, in Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Animation's magical sequel, “The Smurfs 2.”
|Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures|
When it comes to destroying the Smurfs, you can see Gargamel’s train of thought: if you can’t beat ‘em, make ‘em. After all, he did it before: take clay and just add wizardry. “Smurfette started as a lump of clay that Gargamel dropped into his cauldron and brought to life, so that she could infiltrate Smurf Village. But Papa Smurf saw the good in her, and used a magic spell to turn her into a True Blue Smurf,” says director Raja Gosnell.
In creating the Smurf-like characters called the Naughties, producer Jordan Kerner went the extra mile to make sure that Vexy and Hackus would fit squarely into the Smurfs universe. “Every step of the way on the Smurfs movies, we work very closely with Peyo’s daughter Veronique Culliford and Smurfs historian Tom Cosijn to make sure we are getting it right – in script development, production, all the way through the release of the films. And that went double as we created the Naughties,” he says. “The neutral color gray was their desire, as Peyo didn’t want the Smurfs ever associated with any particular human color. Peyo created this world – as we expanded what he built, we felt a duty to respect and honor what came before.”
Vexy is the sister that Smurfette never had -- until now. But unlike Smurfette, she’s not as nice; she’s determined to be Naughty and do Gargamel’s bidding. It’s not easy having a dad like Gargamel – Vexy has grown up to be tough, devious, and very persistent in bringing Smurfette to the naughty side… but when she meets Smurfette, it turns out that Vexy may not be as Naughty as she thinks.
“Vexy is smart and mischievous and has lots of attitude. Attitude to spare,” says Gosnell. “And she really does want to please her father.”
Christina Ricci infuses the voice of Vexy with sarcasm and sauciness. Ricci says that Vexy and Hackus are just looking for the same thing any child needs. “They don’t have a family and love,” she says. “They’re not really bad – they’re just lonely kids. When they kidnap Smurfette, that’s just their way to try to get their ‘father’s’ love. But at the same time, I like that I got to play naughty.”
“In a strange way, voice work gives you so much freedom as an actor,” says Ricci. “As you work on one line, and the quality of your voice, and fine-tuning single syllables, over and over, you can dissect and pick apart and change little things and make it your own. It’s amazing to me how much fun that is.”
Of course, Vexy is just one-half of Gargamel’s dastardly plan. “Vexy is the brains of the operation,” says Kerner. “And her brother, Hackus, is the unbridled enthusiasm and brawn.”
Hackus is a lovable, sweet, hyperactive loose cannon easily influenced by his Naughty sister, Vexy. He’s a bit berserk, sweet to the core, a cyclone of energy, and is a Naughty of few words—very few, in fact.
“Curb Your Enthusiasm’s” JB Smoove is the voice behind the misbehaving Hackus.
Describing his character, he says, “He’s like an experiment gone wrong. Hackus loves to have fun and loves being naughty. Vexy and Hackus play tricks on Azrael, they play tricks on Gargamel, they play tricks on each other. He’s enthusiastic, happy, playful, curious, fun, and overwhelming. He’s Hackus. Hackus Hackus Hackus!”
Opening across the Philippines on August 07 in 3D, 2D and regular theaters, “The Smurfs 2” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.