Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Stooges arise!

There are some movies you have to see just to see them — the casts of these films are so improbable, so seemingly off the wall, you go to quell your WTF? curiosity. Whether you’re into the story or the writer or the director, you just gotta witness firsthand how they'll pull it off.

The planned big-screen remake of “The Three Stooges” is shaping up to be one of those movies. Variety reported today that part of the cast has been confirmed for a new movie of the characters of the Columbia short subjects that ran in theaters from the 1930s to the late 1940’s, and whose slapstick-and-mayhem antics still show up on television.

The film, to be released by MGM and directed by the Farrelly Brothers ("Dumb & Dumber," "There's Something About Mary"] has nailed down Sean Penn as Larry. The directors are reportedly now focused on casting Benicio del Toro as Moe, and Jim Carrey as Curly.

(What, nothing for Johnny Knoxville?)

Variety reported that the film, set for release sometime in 2010, isn’t a biopic but a straight-up portrayal of the trio in their madcap characterizations. Production will begin in early fall, according to the story.

Penn hasn’t been in a humorous role since starring opposite Robert deNiro in “We’re No Angels,” a 1989 remake of the 1955 Humphrey Bogart-Aldo Ray comedy. While he had some comedic flashes in Guy Ritchie’s 2000 caper, “Snatch,” del Toro established his bona fides — and won his Oscar — for straight dramatic work.

And we’ve been so used to seeing comedy veteran Carrey with his customary beanpole frame, it’s hard to imagine what he’ll look like after gaining the 40 pounds Variety says the Farrellys have asked him to put on for the role of Curly.

Now, this is Hollywood; studio execs paid Oliver Stone good money to make people think Anthony Hopkins looked like Richard Nixon. Clearly, anything’s possible. One thing’s for sure: If the Farrelly boys get the cast they want, this “Stooges” project is a lock to top at least that weekend’s box-office.

It’s as true in Hollywood as anywhere else: You can’t drive past a gaudy roadside attraction, or a train wreck, without stopping to look at least once.
Image credit: Stooges: Still image from "How High Is Up?" (1940), a short subject by The Three Stooges. Fair use rationale: Image is needed to identify the antecedent figures of a comedic enterprise, for purposes of comparing those antecedents with contemporary actors to be cast in a major motion picture. The Three Stooges™ is a trademark of Comedy III Productions, Inc. Anthony Hopkins as Richard Nixon; still from “Nixon,” © 1995 Hollywood Pictures and Cinergi Pictures.

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