Sony’s new Smurf film reinvigorates the series with a classic Smurf look and a whole lot of heart but with an empowering message for girls.
Stars Joe Maganiello and Demi Lovato shared their enthusiasm for stepping into iconic roles for Smurfs: The Lost Village. Manganiello, an actor dedicated to his charity work, was so excited! Kind of like a big kid in a nice grown man package when talking about taking the film to kids around the country. Manganiello states, “We got to screen the movie for the kids who couldn’t go out to the theater.” He shared of taking it to the Children’s Foundation. “It was amazing to see kids who had been in the hospital for months pushing their IV stands running up and hugging Hefty Smurf and crying. We also got to do a little fundraiser for a little local theater in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation. We invited Make-a-Wish kids and Boys and Girls clubs so we had a big whole theater filled with kids who watched the movie and I got to watch it with them.” He described of being able to give children the gift of Smurfs thanks to Sony and being able to hear them cheer along.
As someone who grew up with Smurfs it was really special for Manganiello to be a part of the film. “I’m older than some of the cast members which is strange for me to say now.” he laughed, “I was part of the generation that grew up with Smurfs so I watched them every Saturday. I had Smurf sticker books and coloring books. I think everyone in my generation did. So for me it’s such an honor to get a call! ‘Do you want to play this iconic character that you grew up watching for this next generation?’ OF COURSE! Aside from that, I have a family who I sent Smurfs toys.”
“Smurfs isn’t something necessarily that I grew up watching and so being able to just experience something fresh with opens eyes is really exciting for me”, admitted actress/Singer Demi Lovato who wasn’t part of the Smurfs generation as a kid.
However, the talented actress was happy to step into the legacy of Smurfette as someone who could impact kids now. “My favorite thing about playing Smurfette is the female empowerment aspect. I think it’s very convenient with the timing and where we are in the world today. Being able to play a courageous, brave young female who ventures out on this adventure to find out more about herself is encouraging and something that’s inspirational for younger women who are wondering who they are themselves. I think that it’s inspirational for them to look at and say, ‘If she can do it, I can do it.’ I feel like all ages are really going to love this film because you’ve got this generation who has watched Smurfs growing up and then you’ve got kids that are learning about the Smurfs and get to enjoy this adventure with all of us.”
The biggest thing for her is what her character represents. “My character is very independent. And I’d like to think I’m an independent woman myself.”
Manganiello also shared what Hefty means to him, “My character has a heart literally on his sleeve and that means two things to me- It means that he’s a big strong physically protective character but he’s also very romantic and strong enough to be vulnerable sometimes in inopportune moments in front of Smurfette.” And that Hefty is still representative of tenants that should be important to modernized boys who can be both emotional and guardian-like. “I was raised to be chivalrous and I think about protecting people I care about. I think that Hefty is a good role model for the next generation of boys because it’s all of the values that I would want to teach my nephews. As much as we are equal and as paramount of importance that is–that you’re boy and part of your job is protecting the girls you love.”
The new Smurf film celebrates the journey and evolution of both Hefty and Smurfette characters and how the world that used to only have one girl has opened up to a lot more in the film. Both Lovato and Maganiello as Smurfette and Hefty represent a shifting dynamic in how men can be emotional and women can be just as empowered and protective. See more of that when Smurfs: The Lost Village opens this Friday!