The actor rose to fame in vampire drama True Blood and went on to cement his star status as a male stripper in the Magic Mike franchise.

However, he knew it was time to diversify his screen projects after realising there was nothing of his he could show his young relatives, or the kids he frequently spends time with as a boardmember for the Pittsburgh Children's Hospital in his native Pennsylvania.

So Joe didn't hesitate when he was offered the part of Hefty Smurf in Smurfs: The Lost Village, especially as the cartoons were childhood favourites of his.

"I said yes because I was such a huge fan and watched it growing up," he tells Robert Irvine Magazine. "I thought the character they (producers) described sounded like so much fun. I went through this period of my career where it was all adult-oriented programming - True Blood, Magic Mike.

"I do a lot of work with Pittsburgh Children's Hospital, I'm on the board of trustees, and the kids weren't ever allowed to see anything I was in. I would go to visit the hospital and all the adults would know who I am but the kids have no idea. And I have two-and-a-half year-old niece and two-year-old nephew and I started thinking about wanting to do things that they could see and would enjoy. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to do that."

And the Smurfs movie isn't the only project Joe is hoping will widen his fan base, particularly after landing the role of the villain Deathstroke in Ben Affleck's forthcoming The Batman film.

Sofia Vergara's husband adds, "If you look at some other things I've done recently like Pee-Wee's Big Holiday and Blaze and the Monster MAChines (cartoon), there's been a real turn to kid-friendly stuff, especially too with Batman coming up."

Joe isn't the only big name involved in Smurfs: The Lost Village, which opens next month (Apr17) - Julia Roberts, Mandy Patinkin, and Demi Lovato are also among the other castmembers.