recentrly got ahold of producer Jordan Kerner ("Charlotte's Web", "George of the Jungle 2") to talk about his upcoming projects, including an upcoming Smurfs feature film.

"It's a 3-D/CG Smurfs", said Kerner. "You just can't make those guys live - it'd be a little weird, but a 3D Shrek world of them - that's fantastic."

Kerner says he has been researching the popular 80s cartoon extensively. "Having seen all 234 episodes of the show, numerous times, Herb Ratner and I have been working really hard at looking where all the holes were in the episodes - ya'know, like all of a sudden another woman appears, it's not just smurfette - and what we've done is we've plugged all those holes in a trilogy of three movies, and we reveal things as we go along".

"They're all so very protective of [The Smurfs], so it took me five years of negotiation to get the rights. And then, they were very uncertain about what story we wanted to tell - we weren't going to tell them until we had the rights, either. Then we got the rights on everyone's faith that they also had an ability to veto, and presented them with the treatment. They just loved it. To be told that they loved it - not just liked it - and to be told that [creator] Peyo would've loved it, is a huge blessing and a great thing to have happen".

The "Smurfs" trilogy will be "the animated Lord of the Rings - through the world of these idiots. Because they're sweet characters but they're goofs. It's a comic version, but still very heartfelt, version of Lord of the Rings - though not literally Lord of the Rings, but an epic story like that."

The fan favourite to voice the character of Gargamel seems to be John Lithgow. "Very interesting", smiles Kerner. "I love John Lithgow".

Gargamel's back-story is going to be fully examined in the film trilogy. We'll learn "[more] about Gargamel and Smurf Soup and how all that began and what really goes on in that castle. What his backstory really was. There's an all-powerful wizard... there's all sorts of things that get revealed as we go along".

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