By Mack Chico
MGM and the Farrelly brothers are closing in on their cast for “The Three Stooges.”
Studio has set Sean Penn to play Larry, and negotiations are underway with Jim Carrey to play Curly, with the actor already making plans to gain 40 pounds to approximate the physical dimensions of Jerome “Curly” Howard.
The studio is zeroing in on Benicio Del Toro to play Moe.
The film is not a biopic, but rather a comedy built around the antics of the three characters that Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Howard played in the Columbia Pictures shorts.
The quest by the Peter and Bobby Farrelly to harness the project spans more than a decade and three studios. They first tried at Columbia, again at Warner Bros., and finally at MGM, where Worldwide Motion Picture Group chairman Mary Parent championed the cause and bought the WB-owned scripts and made a deal with Stooges rights holders C3.
Production will begin in early fall for a release sometime in 2010. The Farrellys, who wrote the script, are producing with their Conundrum partner Bradley Thomas, and Charlie Wessler.
C3 Entertainment principals Earl and Robert Benjamin will be executive producers.
Project will get underway after Penn completes the Asger Leth-directed Universal/Imagine Entertainment drama “Cartel.” He hasn’t done a comedy since the 1989 laffer “We’re No Angels.”
The Farrellys have long had their eyes on Del Toro to play Moe. Del Toro, who’s coming off “Che,” showed comic chops in the Guy Ritchie-directed “Snatch.”
The surprise is the emergence of Carrey to play Curly. Howard established the character as a seminal physical comedian, from the first time he appeared in the first Stooges short in 1934 until he suffered a stroke on the set in 1946.