Jayma Mays: Mom's Smurfs Fandom Paid Off

“The Smurfs” star Jayma Mays reveals an unexpected trauma from her past: “I was forced to watch 'The Smurfs' as a child.”

“My mom was a big, big fan and was a rabid collector,” says Mays, who stars alongside Neil Patrick Harris as an expectant New York couple who discover a band of the little blue creatures. “Every Saturday morning I'd come down and she would sit me in front of the television and say, 'You're going to watch "The Smurfs",' and so just to spite her I would always say that Gargamel was my favorite. That was so evil, to say that to my mother, but I secretly loved them.”

“We didn't have figurines, but we had the Smurf cups in the cupboard,” Mays tells PopcornBiz of her childhood’s Smurfy vibe. “My brother had Smurf sheets, but he was a little older, and so I imagine that she was maybe the one that bought him for him. I need to get my facts straight because I'm making my mom sound like a crazy person, but yeah, she loved the Smurfs. I do think that part of it was that she knew it was a good show for us to watch. It always had a message at the end.”

The actress says that after breathing life into a long series of quirk-centric characters like “Glee’s” OCD-afflicted guidance counselor Emma Pilsbury, she found playing “The Smurfs’” relatively normal Grace Winslow refreshing. “I don't know if I meant to specialize in them, but there's something people are in seeing in me. They're like, 'We need quirky, we need something weird – Call Jayma Mays!” I was like, 'Actually, this is probably the most grounded role that I've ever auditioned for or possibly have been cast in."

“I'm such a fan,” she says of Harris, who she didn’t get a chance to work with when he guest-starred on “Glee.” “I get so smitten with him because he's so multi-talented and can do everything, but so good at comedy and physical comedy. I would love to work with him again. I do feel like we could take things even further and go somewhere different together. . As soon as we start work I'm going to be like, 'So, like, Neil Patrick Harris that won an Emmy for our show, when is he coming back? Can Emma be in love with him?'”

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