Calling Dr. Penn, Dr. Carrey, Dr. del Toro?
In one of the most bizarre casting revelations in recent Hollywood memory, MGM and the Farrelly brothers are closing in on the actors who will become the new Three Stooges. And their choices to play the updated versions of three impetuous nitwits who whack each other over the head with lead pipes? Oscar-wining actors Sean Penn and Benicio del Toro, along with Golden Globe winner Jim Carrey.
According to a report in Variety, the laugh-worthy rumor is actually true: Sean Penn will follow his recent Oscar-winning performance in "Milk" by taking on the role of Larry. The porcupine-haired silent partner in the trio was portrayed for five decades by Larry Fine and became best known for his love of the violin and getting in the middle of the other two Stooges during eye-poke fights. We can only assume that Penn will be bringing back his "Carlito's Way" haircut.
As for the pivotal role of soup-slurping, chrome-domed Curly, it looks like Jim Carrey will be slowly turning, step-by-step and inch-by-inch. Long considered the modern-day master of the sort of physical comedy the Stooges invented, Carrey's work in films like "Liar, Liar" owes a clear debt to Jerome "Curly" Howard. Still, it's hard to imagine an actor that looks less appropriate physically, so expect quite a transformation as Carrey reportedly intends to gain 40 pounds to play the role of the dumbest Stooge.
Finally, the Farrelly brothers are looking to cast Benicio del Toro — last seen in Steven Soderbergh's deadly serious biopic of Cuban revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara — as Moe. The leader of the Stooges, the character was originated by Moe Howard and was marked by the loving brutality (heads in vices, nose tweaks, ear twists, etc.) he'd dole out on his associates.
The Farrellys, makers of such beloved crude films as "There's Something About Mary" and "Shallow Hal," have been trying to reinvent the Stooges for more than a decade. In that time, various rumors have had them doing everything from making the boys into girls to casting Johnny Depp and Russell Crowe. In a late 2007 interview with MTV News, the brothers revealed several key plot points they had in mind for the project.
As for the Stooges themselves, the dimwitted trio starred in nearly 200 shorts and movies from 1930 to Moe and Larry's death in 1975, blazing the way for modern comedy. With help from Curly replacements Shemp, Joe and Curly-Joe, they explored the bromance long before the term was coined, loving and hating each other through numerous adventures that reimagined them as plumbers, soldiers, physicians and all-around numbskulls.
Rather than being a biopic, the Farrellys have said in the past that the film will be a modern-day take on the Stooges, most likely consisting of several short films within the movie. Production is expected to begin in the fall for a 2010 release.
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