Belfast Telegraph

Homeland star Mandy Patinkin: Fighting for refugees more important than acting

He joined a host of stars at an event at the United Nations headquarters in New York for his new movie Smurfs: The Lost Village.

Homeland star Mandy Patinkin has said advocating for refugees is now far more important to him than his acting career.

The actor, who plays CIA agent Saul Berenson in the hit drama, is still best known for his role as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride.

However, he said his trips to refugee camps in Lesbos in Greece, Serbia and Germany have made it clear that speaking up about injustice is his biggest priority.

Arriving at an event at the United Nations headquarters in New York for his new movie Smurfs: The Lost Village, he told the Press Association: “Working for human rights, working for the most vulnerable among us who don’t have human rights, who don’t have freedom, justice and dignity, who don’t have homes and safety, that is the most meaningful thing in my life right now.

“My day job is to be an actor in various things, which I love doing, but I think the most important job I have on this planet right now is to take the privilege of the position I’m in because I’m an actor and be the voice for those who have no voice, not in an animated cartoon but in the real world.

“It’s an interesting thing that I’m the voice for an animated character, which I love doing, but I love even more being the voice for real human beings who need a voice.”

Mandy lends his voice to Papa Smurf in the animated film and was joined by his co-stars Demi Lovato and Joe Manganiello to celebrate the International Day of Happiness at the event.

It was in support of the UN’s sustainable development goals, which include efforts to address inequality, poverty and climate change.

He added: “I’m going to get Sony to give me a copy of the Smurf movie and I want it to go to every refugee camp in the world so that all these kids can see it right away for free. If you’re a refugee, I hope you see it before anyone else, if I have my way.”

Demi, who voices Smurfette in the film, said: “What’s been great about the collaboration between the movie and the UN is it’s inspiring to a lot of people and is bringing attention to a younger people to make a difference on our planet.”

The film follows Smurfette’s journey to find her own identity, and Demi added: “I’m all about girl power so being able to be part of a film where somebody finds their purpose through other strong women is really incredible and I was proud to be a part of it.”

Magic Mike star Joe, who voices Hefty Smurf, said he hopes children will take away valuable lessons from both the film and the UN campaign.

He said: “It’s important to get the word out and teach the younger generation to grow up with these principles engrained in them.

“We are looking at a tricky situation in the years to come as far as the environment and having a clean and sustainable planet is concerned, so teaching kids at a young age to step up and do something about it is very important.”

Smurfs: The Lost Village is released in UK cinemas on March 31.

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