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Neil Patrick Harris Has Never Been Happier Not to Be a Smurf

Just six days ago, we spotted Neil Patrick Harris filming The Smurfs at the Bourgeois Pig, and lamented that he, tragically, was not wearing a Smurfs costume. Was he as crushed as we were to find out that he's going to play some boring, flesh-colored, normal-size everyday guy who only helps the Smurfs? "No, not at all," Harris told us at the Time 100 gala last night. "Hank Azaria plays Gargamel, and he has two and a half hours of makeup every day. I just get to show up and throw on some powder and go act."

His character tries to help the Smurfs get back to their native land after they somehow wind up in Central Park, and his acting consists mainly of imagining he's talking to tiny creatures who will later be added via CGI. "You have a lot of places all over the set that you’re supposed to look at, and you have to assume that the animation is as awesome as I hope it’s gonna be, that it's going to be killer," said Harris. "It's a lot of squatting and talking to your empty hands. I get a good workout."

Missing Smurf costume aside, the real tragedy of this project may be that the nefarious producers are preventing him from awesomely hosting the Tonys again this year. "My schedule doesn't allow it!" he said. "The Smurfs movie starts shooting nights a couple weeks before, and our schedule works Saturday through Wednesday, so just physically I wouldn’t be able to accomplish it. But I’m assuming they’ll get someone great." Couldn't he just jump in for one production number, like he did at the Oscars? "I’ve hosted a lot this last year," said Harris, laughing. "I think sitting back and letting others take the reins would be not a terrible idea."

Photo: Theo Wargo/Getty Images