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

Raja Gosnell to helm live action/animated project

Raja Gosnell has signed to direct the live-action/animated hybrid big-screen version of "The Smurfs" for Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation.

Jordan Kerner ("Charlotte's Web") is producing the movie. J. David Stem and David Weiss ("Shrek 2," "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius") spent the past year writing the script. Audrey Wells ("George of the Jungle") is on board to do a polish.

Gosnell is the editor-turned-director best known for helming "Scooby-Doo" and "Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed" in addition to last year's "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," all of which combined live actors and settings with photo-realistic animated talking animals.

Turning his attention to the small blue characters created by Belgian cartoonist Peyo was the next step.

"With Raja coming aboard, we now have a brilliant director who has proved time and again that he has a deft touch in blending the worlds of physical comedy and honest emotion with both live-action and photo-real animated characters," said Kerner, who has been developing the project for the past seven years.

The film is set to be released in 3D and 2D formats on Dec. 17, 2010. The story is expected to feature such mainstay characters as Smurfette and villainous Gargamel.

Repped by CAA, Gosnell also directed the romantic comedy "Never Been Kissed" and the comedies "Big Momma's House" and "Yours, Mine & Ours."