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"Scooby-Doo" director takes on "Smurfs" movie

 Nine Culliford, the widow of cartoonist Pierre
Nine Culliford, the widow of cartoonist Pierre 'Peyo' Culliford who created the Smurfs, poses after a news conference in Brussels January 14, 2008. The Smurfs celebrated their 50th anniversary this year. REUTERS/Thierry Roge
— image credit: Reuters

By Borys Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Raja Gosnell has signed on to direct "Smurfs," a live action/animated movie starring the popular small blue characters created by Belgian cartoonist Peyo.

Those involved with the Columbia Pictures/Sony Animation project have experience working with a hybrid blend of actors and cartoons. Jordan Kerner ("Charlotte's Web") is producing, and J. David Stem and David N. Weiss ("Shrek 2" and "Shrek the Third") and Audrey Wells ("George of the Jungle") wrote the script.

Gosnell's addition complements the team. The editor-turned-director is best known for helming "Scooby-Doo" and "Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed," as well as last year's "Beverly Hills Chihuahua." The movies combined live actors and settings with photorealistic animated talking animals.

Gosnell also directed the romantic comedy "Never Been Kissed" as well as comedies "Big Momma's House" and "Yours Mine and Ours."

The plot of "Smurfs" is being kept under wraps, but the story is expected to feature well-loved characters such as Papa Smurf, Smurfette and the villainous Gargamel. The film will be released in 3-D and 2-D formats on December 17, 2010.

(Editing by SheriLinden at Reuters)

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