By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist January 7, 2011 at 12:56AM
Considering it's supposed to start shooting in about two months, getting a cast together for the long gestating big screen version of "The Three Stooges" might be good idea. By now, its history has been told and re-told, but in short, at one point the project had a trio of high profile stars attached with Sean Penn as Larry, Jim Carrey as Curly and Benicio del Toro as Moe. Alas, the project was set up at MGM whose financial woes are old news by this point, and was eventually moved over to 20th Century Fox where it was given a clean slate and fast tracked with a March 14, 2011 start date penciled in. Well, it looks like the Farrelly Brothers are narrowing down their stooges.
Johnny Knoxville, Andy Samberg and Australian comic Shane Jacobson are all on the shortlist to play Moe, Larry and Curly. Of course, whether or not their appearance on said list turns into bonafide offers remains to be seen, but it does give an insight into the direction the directors are headed. For one, each one of these actors are much, much more affordable than the trio of Penn, Carrey and del Toro would have been. Secondly, they skew much younger. Knoxville, who previously worked with the Farrellys on "The Ringer" which they produced, is currently riding high on the huge box office success of "Jackass 3D." Samberg is pretty much the only reason to watch "Saturday Night Live" and his Lonely Island musical outings have created numerous viral sensations. The only question mark is Jacobson; he's not well known on this side of the ocean but if the young comic and current "Top Gear Australia" host impresses, he may find himself landing the gig.
As Deadline previously reported, the story will pick up when "the trio are dumped out as newborns at the door of an orphanage....and follows them to adulthood and is very much in the spirit of the original shorts, in which the blue collar bumblers got the best of the wealthy society matrons that tried to exploit them." Richard Jenkins was in early talks to play the head of the orphanage but no word if he's still interested. The Wrap reveals that the picture will be formatted into three twenty-seven minute segments aiming at a family friendly PG rating.
Probably lots more news to come and certainly the Farrellys will be peppered with questions when they start doing the press rounds for "Hall Pass," opening next month. As for us, the casting rumors are disappointingly safe and not as inspired as the previously lined up trio. We'll wait to see how this plays out.