Aside from getting the chance to help update a beloved franchise, there was one main draw about starring in the Smurfs for Neil Patrick Harris: It was nothing like his over-the-top How I Met Your Mother character.

“I spend six-and-a-half, seven months a year playing the chewing-on-the-scenery Barney Stinson, and so I look for a role that is different than him in some way during my off time,” he says. And his character, Patrick Winslow, a father-to-be and put-upon marketing exec whose New York apartment becomes a hideout for Smurfs, is indeed nothing like Barney.

The character is also apparently a departure from Harris himself, who admits he wouldn’t be as welcoming as his on-screen persona if a gaggle of little blue people were to invade his home.

“I’d probably Taze them and keep them in a small box and quickly find a reality show or some way to make a profit from it, and travel around like the Warner Bros. cartoon with the frog,” he says before stopping to consider the severity of his answer. “I’m Gargamel, apparently.”

The notoriously sunny actor strays to the darker side of humour again when pressed on what his Smurf name would be, were he to suddenly find himself three apples high.

“I’d be Snuff Smurf, and I’d end the suffering of all the dying smurfs everywhere,” he says, grinning, before thinking better of himself. “That was a dark answer,” he says. “Let’s say Magical Smurf because I like magic.”

Just because Harris has now starred alongside the legendary Smurfs doesn’t mean all his Smurf-related questions have been answered. “Who’s shagging Smurfette, really? They always kind of go, ‘Ooh,’ and then they pass out, but I want to know what’s going on late at night in Smurf Village,” he says. “Does she get passed from Smurf to Smurf? Is she a one-Smurf girl? Is Papa involved? That doesn’t seem right at all. She could swing the other way.”

While Harris has been having fun exploring the world of Smurfs over the summer, it will soon be time to get back to work on his hit sitcom — not that he knows exactly what’s happening next.

While Harris’ Barney is apparently set to tie the knot, they haven’t told him who he’s marrying. “I keep prying them for information, but they fear that I’ll someday be sitting at a big rectangular table around a bunch of people asking me questions and say something that I’m not supposed to.”

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