Neil Patrick Harris: Thesp turns blue to gold

Comedy Impact Report 2011: Bigscreen Bigshots

When it comes to calming stage jitters, Neil Patrick Harris indulges in an unlikely elixir. “Red Bull helps. It actually has the opposite effect on me,” jokes the actor, who hosted one of the best reviewed Tony Awards in years, performing a buzzed-about number explaining that the telecast is “not just for gays anymore.” The caffeine-laden drink also helps Harris multitask, a necessity given the thesp’s hectic year, in which he played the live-action lead in kiddie pic “The Smurfs” and portrayed lovable lothario Barney Stinson in the CBS hit laffer “How I Met Your Mother.”

“Smurfs” proved to be such a hit overseas — nabbing $376 million in foreign territories for a $518 worldwide haul — that Harris is gearing up for a return engagement. “I hear rumors of a ‘Smurfs’ sequel,” says Harris, who describes his sense of humor as “mainstream, acerbic, dry, but a bit caustic.” “We’ll see. When ‘How I Met Your Mother’ wraps in April-May, I’m really hoping that I can just take a nap.”

In the meantime, look for Harris to pop up in a few films “in sneaky cameos I’m not allowed to discuss,” like his scene-stealing turns in the “Harold and Kumar” films.