Update: That was fast. The film now has a March 14, 2011 start date and a green light. Richard Jenkins is apparently playing a nun. Carrey and Penn are definitely out and it remains to be seen if Del Toro is in (we'd assume he'd only stick around if it's the same kind of killer cast). "The script is ready to go, and we are opening up these roles to the world right now," Peter Farrelly told Deadline. "We'll make it with the best possible people. Our feeling is that no star is too big to audition and no matter who it is, we're going to have to see him in the role. This is not 'The Flinstones.' You've got to be Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard, and that could be a major movie star or an unknown."
MGM's bankruptcy issues put several big name projects on hold this year and has killed some indefinitely. "The Hobbit" got around the issues thanks to Warner Bros./New Line, "Bond 23" still looks to be up in the air -- though a composer of all people says otherwise, not sure we buy it yet -- and Darren Aronofsky's "RoboCop" was killed (though he hopes to try again one day). Another project that was caught in the MGM financial cross hairs was Bobby and Peter Farrelly's modern take on "The Three Stooges" that at one point would star Sean Penn as Larry, Jim Carrey as Curly and Benicio del Toro as Moe.
Penn's participation wavered from almost day one (his divorce forced him to take an acting sabbatical) and Carrey recently put the nail in the coffin saying he was no longer attached.
But despite what sounds bad -- losing the cast -- some good news is hitting "The Three Stooges." It's getting a new life over at 20th Century Fox. Sure, they'll have to wipe the slate and start over, most likely with new actors, but hey, a new life is better than the purgatory the film has been consigned to for the last two years.
As MGM figures out its financial reorganization, THR reports that Fox will be taking over the project. It's unclear if that's part of the MGM financial restructuring deal, a regular turnaround deal or just one of the many side deals that is happening while MGM addresses the final stages of their Chapter 11 reorg. There's little other details, but as you know, this picture is not a biopic, but just throws the Stooges' slapsticky antics into modern times.
'Stooges' went from Columbia, to Warner Bros., to MGM and now Fox. It was almost all set to go, but Penn's aforementioned sabbatical delayed it and it became a jenga effect that put the project into slo-motion. The project has been in the works for over a decade.