I recently got the chance to have a quick chat with Adria Baratta about her role in ‘The Smurfs’. Here, Adria talks about what it was like working with Neil Patrick Harris and which three historical figures she would like to invite to a dinner party…
Hey Adria. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. ‘The Smurfs‘ has been released in cinemas worldwide as of 10th August 2011.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
The cartoon Smurfs we’re all familiar with fall down a portal and land in modern-day New York City and wiggle their way into Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris)’s life.
Tell us a bit about your character in the movie.
My character works at the cosmetics company that Patrick (Neil Patrick Harris)’s character works for. I play the receptionist at the front desk of the company who greets Patrick at a particularly stressful moment.
Were you a huge fan of the franchise before you signed on?
I missed The Smurfs on TV by a few years, but I always thought that they were adorable. Obviously, I was incredibly excited to be a part of such a beloved franchise. The Smurfs are huge! Since the movie has come out I’ve had people I never expected to hear from contacting me telling me how much they loved The Smurfs growing up and couldn’t wait to see the movie. It’s all very exciting.
The film stars the likes of Katy Perry, Hank Azaria and Neil Patrick Harris – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
My scene was shot over the course of two days and all of the voice-over actors worked separately from the set so I never had the pleasure of meeting any of the Smurfs themselves, but I did get to work directly with Neil Patrick Harris, who was fantastic. The vibe on the set was great and you could tell that everyone was having a blast. Actually, one of the days I was there Hank Azaria and his son came to the set to visit – he couldn’t have been more than a year old – and Hank was in his full Gargamel get-up and trying to get his son to recognize him and calm down, but the poor kid was so scared to see his Dad dressed up like that. He was adorably in character while trying to entertain his own child and it was really special to watch. Everyone was very lovely and I felt incredibly comfortable – which was huge for me because this was my first real role in a major film and I was definitely nervous.
If you could go around as a Smurf for a day, what would you do?
I would probably string up lots of weird household objects and just zip line through my apartment on my dental floss, and do silly stuff that only tiny people could do.
Who is your favourite Smurf?
Gutsy Smurf, who was a character written specifically for the film and brilliantly voiced by Alan Cumming, of whom I am a huge fan.
Let’s talk a bit about you Adria. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
From a very young age I have always had a ton of energy, and as a child I harnessed that into performances. I loved performing in front of an audience and the more that I learned about theatre and film and literature and history, the more I wanted to be an actor and be a part of this world. I also had a friend who encouraged me to pursue acting by going to a performing arts summer camp as a child and later on I had several wonderful theatre teachers in high school and college. My parents are both in the arts and they’ve always been incredibly supportive, too, which has all been very encouraging. I love it, plain and simple.
If you could recommend a film or TV series to someone, what would you choose and why?
It’s very difficult for me not to recommend ‘Breaking Bad’ because I am completely hooked and in awe of the quality of that show, but a more personal choice would have to be the 1960s ‘Batman’ series, if nothing else than for Julie Newmar’s performances as Catwoman. She’s flawless.
If you could have a dinner with three historical guests, alive or dead – who would they be and why?
I’d choose Pablo Picasso, Cleopatra, and Paul Newman. Picasso – because Paris in the 1920s was a fascinating place and time to be alive in and he helped develop the entire bohemian lifestyle, not to mention art - which I’d love to talk about with him, Cleopatra – because she would bring insight on an entirely different era to the table, not to mention the fact that she knew how to wield power millenia ahead of most other women, and Paul Newman – because not only was he probably the most attractive man to ever live, he was talented, intelligent, and generous.
What’s coming up for you in 2011?
2011 is hopefully going to be a very busy year. I’ve got a few irons in the fire right now, but I’m mostly looking for new and exciting projects to be a part of. Earlier in the summer I started a stand-up show called ‘Cupcakes And Comedy’ and I am organizing more shows for the fall now. I also think that television has been stepping up its game substantially in the past few years and I’m eager to be a part of that world too.
Thanks for the interview!