By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist January 20, 2011 at 4:26AM
A little more than ten days after the Farrelly Brothers said "there is no leader in the clubhouse” quashing early casting rumors regarding Johnny Knoxville and Andy Samberg for their upcoming and long-gestating "The Three Stooges" outing, an actor long associated with the film is apparently still very much in contention.
Speaking with The Providence Journal, Peter Farrelly talked about the upcoming film revealing, “Benicio [Del Toro] is the front runner for Moe, but we’ve not made a deal with him yet.” Del Toro was involved with the project back when Sean Penn and Jim Carrey were set to co-star as Larry and Curly, respectively, but when the film recently moved from MGM to 20th Century Fox, Penn and Carrey were officially nixed from the project while Del Toro remained a question mark and it looks like he's still interested. But casting the project has proven to be a tough endeavour with the Farrellys looking at both unknowns and name talent -- some of whom are bristling at the notion of having to audition for the part.
“The problem is that everybody’s gotta read for the part,” Farrelly said, revealing that some of the bigger names should just be hired on their recognition alone, and shouldn't have to test. “Our feeling is that it just can’t be your take on Moe. It’s gotta be Moe. Someone could nail Curly’s mannerisms, but if you’re 130 pounds it probably wouldn’t work.”
But it hasn't just been the casting proving difficult for the film as Farrelly reveals that studios weren't quite sold on their three-shorts-in-one-movie concept. “It’s all new material. It’s not a biopic. We want to give a matinee feel to it. But none of the studios had any interest in it at the beginning. There was a lot to prove. We even had to show that in the script, despite all the hitting the Stooges were known for, it could be a PG movie.” 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.
As for the previously announced start date of March 14th, that has been pushed back slightly. “We’re casting, but nobody is in right now,” Farrelly said adding that the plan is start shooting in April in Georgia. We'd wager some decisions will be made soon with the start date looming and we're curious to see how this one will shape up.