THE SMURFS 2
About the Naughties
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 Gosnell. "So now, 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 creating the Smurf-like characters, 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.
Christina Ricci infuses the voice of Vexy with sarcasm and sauciness.
"Vexy is smart and mischievous and has lots of attitude. Attitude to spare," says Gosnell. "And she really does want to please her father."
"When we thought about casting Vexy, we thought about the fact that she's Smurfette's 'sister,'" says Kerner. "Sure, one's blonde and the other's brunette; one's a perfect Smurf, the other is rough around the edges, but we wanted the voices to feel like they were two of a kind. And the voice that stood out for us was Christina's. She brings a great sense of humor, an articulate, clear voice, and a deeply raspy laugh that is a cousin to Katy Perry's performance as Smurfette. She's great at playing naughty, bringing a fun, ironic, tongue-firmly-in-cheek vocal quality. She and Katy really raised each other's game."
"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.
"I was a big Smurfs fan growing up," says Smoove. "This was in the days that you'd have to wake up before your brother if you wanted to control the TV on Saturday morning. So when they called me to play Hackus, I jumped at the opportunity -- I'm part of Smurf history now. I've done voiceover work for other animated shows, but nothing like this."
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!"
"Because of his enthusiasm, Hackus speaks sometimes in shortened sentences," says Kerner. "We needed someone who was a real voice artist, so we listened to many, many, many voices of different actors who could use their voice as an instrument, rather than simply a means of performance. The thing that convinced us about JB was that he -- not unlike Hackus himself -- is a ball of energy."
The actor says that he can see why the filmmakers thought of him for the hyperactive Hackus. "I'm very good at raising my voice and laughing really loud," he says. "Also, when you're doing voiceover work, you have to add action to it -- physical action. You have to be physical with it, because that's the only way to dive into the character -- if you just do the voice, it's not projected the right way. Raja and Jordan gave me a lot of freedom to dive in there and have a good time with the character."
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