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Demi Lovato returns to her roots in new Smurfs film

Singer Demi Lovato voices Smurfette in new animated movie

She got her showbiz start on children's television show Barney & Friends, and now, US pop star Demi Lovato is back on screen entertaining a new generation of kids.

In the new animated family movie Smurfs: The Lost Village, the 24-year-old stars as the plucky Smurfette - her first voiceover experience.

Joined by her friends Brainy (Danny Pudi), Clumsy (Jack McBrayer) and Hefty (Joe Manganiello), they go on an adventure through the Forbidden Forest, where they uncover the biggest secret in Smurf history.

Opening here tomorrow, Smurfs: The Lost Village is a completely computer-animated reboot, unlike the previous live-action/computer-animated films The Smurfs (2011) and The Smurfs 2 (2013).

Is it going back to your roots?

Yes. I started out on Barney & Friends (in 2002) and then I had a long career with Disney Channel. I had kind of separated myself from that world, so it's nice to dive back into it and entertain children.

What qualities do you look for in a children's project?

What I really appreciated in this film is that I get to play a strong female lead - someone that is brave, driven, passionate and curious. I don't attach my name to anything that I don't believe in. So this was something that was easy to say yes to.

What was doing the recording itself like?

Really exciting, because it was all so new. It was also great to show up at work in your workout clothes. And it was a lot of fun being so animated behind the microphone.

“It was also great to show up at work in your workout clothes. And it was a lot of fun being so animated behind the microphone.”Demi Lovato on doing the voiceover for Smurfette

What was the biggest challenge making this film?

I don't do much acting anymore. So it was a little challenging for me to be able to translate that energy onto the camera - being a little bit more over-the-top and kind of raising my voice a little bit to make the character sound younger.

On the Disney Channel, you have to play these very animated characters because it's targeted towards a younger audience. So that's basically what I did when I played Smurfette.

Smurfette is the only girl in a group of boys. Was that something you relate to?

I remember being 15 and being on tour with my band that was made up of all guys, while touring with the Jonas Brothers…

I now have a lot of women on my team, from my day-to-day manager to my hair and make-up artist.

Smurfette is a perky character. What makes you happy?

Just being grateful, enjoying life and giving back. I just got back from Kenya where I did some charity work with WE Charity (www.we.org).

I think being of service gets me out of myself and helps me feel like I have a purpose in the world.

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