Variety reports that Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation plan to bring the 'Smurfs' to the big screen as a hybrid live-action and animated movie, (a la 'Alvin and the Chipmunks'). David Stem and David Weiss, who wrote the second and third installments in the 'Shrek' franchise, are in negotiations to pen the screenplay.
Jordan Kerner ('Charlotte's Web'), who had previously been developing a CG animated feature of the Smurfs for Paramount/Nickelodeon, is producing. Paramount is said to have an option to co-finance the new film, but has not decided to jump on board yet.
'The Smurfs' are the creation of Belgian cartoonist Pierre Cullifored (better known as Peyo), who first introduced them as supporting characters in his comic books in 1958. They became a major attraction for U.S. audiences decades later when a popular cartoon debuted in 1981.
Kerner has been working closely on the project with Hendrik Coysman (CEO of rights-holder Lafig Belgium) and Veronique Culliford, the daughter of Peyo.