NYFA Graduate Does Stunt Work for Smurfs Movie

September 1, 2011

Chris Place

New York Film Academy Graduate Chris Place

New York Film Academy graduate Chris Place is one of the few humans in new comedy The Smurfs starring Katy Perry and Neil Patrick Harris. Chris did all stunt work for four-time Emmy Winner Hank Azaria who plays antagonist Gargamel in the film. The Smurfs follows evil wizard Gargamel’s efforts to chase the tiny blue Smurfs out of their village. Chris comments that one of the biggest challenges of filming was acting with animated characters that aren’t added until post-production: “A lot of it was working with creatures that aren’t even there. You’re running around yelling, but it’s not at anyone.”

Chris Place Stunt

Chris does a high fall for a film project

Though Chris was new to acting in animated pictures, he has done a tremendous amount of film work since graduating including Leatherheads with George Clooney, The Other Guys with Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell, Salt, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, The Adjustment Bureau, Captain America, Step Up 3D, and The Good Shepherd. Chris also played villain The Ripper in last year’s My Soul to Take and has done work for TV shows including The Sopranos, Blue Bloods, The Late Show with David Letterman, Gossip Girl, and Ugly Betty. Chris received Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Outstanding Work by a Stunt Ensemble for films Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and I am Legend. Though Chris has an impressive number of credits, his past experiences didn’t prevent him from injury:

Gargamel played by Hank Azaria

Chris did all stunts for the character of evil wizard Gargamel (left) played by Hank Azaria (right)

“The Smurfs really just beat you up. I think you get more hurt on the kids movie because of the slapstick comedy. There was a lot of getting tripped, falling on your face, falling on your back,” Place said. “I had a bruised kidney and a bunch of lumps on my bald head.”

Chris’s wardrobe included donning a wizard robe, prosthetic nose and ears, in addition to having his head shaved daily. However, Chris comments that he wouldn’t be doing anything else: “Film is a passion of mine, so seeing the finished project is great. A desk job doesn’t appeal to me. Not sitting behind a desk nine to five everyday is the best job.”