By Edward Davis | The Playlist January 9, 2011 at 3:35AM
Not so fast. Earlier in the week, The Wrap reported that "Saturday Night Live" star Andy Samberg, "Jackass" co-founder Johnny Knoxville and an Australian comedian named Shane Jacobson were on the shortlist to lead Bobby and Peter Farrelly's long-gestating feature-length version of "The Three Stooges" film now that erstwhile principal leads Sean Penn, Jim Carrey and Benicio del Toro had moved on.
Peter Farrelly quickly poured water on that report when he spoke to Entertainment Weekly. "You don’t want people to think ‘they already cast that thing,’ because we haven’t,” Peter Farrelly told EW, stressing that no actors are locked in, they're still looking at plenty of options and there are no frontrunners. “It’s wide open to everybody. Right now, there is no leader in the clubhouse.”
So the aforementioned actors aren't being considered? Possibly they are, but the L.A. Times says they're just a few of many, so perhaps the duo is in the early wishlist stages of casting and The Wrap jumped the gun. In fact, one insider noted that "a whole slew of people, nearly all in their 20s and 30s, are in the running means that the odds it will happen with this particular combination (Samberg, Knoxville, Jacobson) are long."
Farrelly gave EW details on the project that we've heard before: it's not going to be a biopic, it's going to be a fictional comedy with the same 'Three Stooges' characters only set in modern times. “They’re going to look the same, dress the same, sound the same, act the same, with the same sound effects,” Farrelly said, noting that a modern context will trip the brothers up. "Suddenly, when Moe hits somebody he doesn’t know, that’s assault and battery.” In fact, the director said they are looking for actors who are willing to give into almost exact imitations of the original Stooges.
So what happened with the A-list power trio that was originally attached to the project? Why did that iteration of the film die? "That was real. Sean Penn wanted to do it and when Sean wanted to do it, everyone wanted to do it," Farrelly said. "But he is extremely involved in Haiti right now. We heard that if we waited a couple years, we could probably get him, but we’ve already waited a few years.”
Last we heard 20th Century Fox -- who bought the project from the formerly financially ailing MGM -- had set March 14, 2011 as the start date for the project. That's only about two months away, so while Farrelly might be stressing that there's no frontrunners yet, that will quickly change (unless the start date slides) and we imagine we'll be hearing concrete 'Stooges' casting news soon.