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since 1997 | by maryann johanson

dream cast: (not so) hypothetical ‘Three Stooges’ movie

It’s Thursday, and that means it’s time to remake an 80s classic TV show or movie with an all-new cast. This week we’re stretching the timeline a bit to feature The Three Stooges, the mid-20th-century vaudeville act whose short films ensured their spot in the pop culture hall of fame as the poster boys for entertaining idiocy… and as Gen X touchstones. And we’re dreamcasting this this week because there’s a movie in the works, and you won’t believe who’s been cast. (More after the jump.)

(If you have a suggestion for an 80s TV show or movie we should play with, feel free to email me.)
The news have been all over the Web, and summed up perfectly at The New York Times today:

To his allies, Sean Penn is a wise guy; to his adversaries, he’s a stooge. Now they’re both correct: the actor has joined the cast of “The Three Stooges,” a new MGM comedy based on the vintage film shorts of that knockaround trio, Variety reported. Mr. Penn, who recently won his second Academy Award, for playing the title role in Gus Van Sant’s “Milk,” is set to play Larry, the wire-haired, Stradivarius-wielding Stooge. The studio is also said to be in final negotiations with Jim Carrey, who will gain weight to play the rotund Curly, and is pursuing Benicio Del Toro (“Che”) to play the irritable Moe. The film is to be written and directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly (of “There’s Something About Mary” and “Kingpin” fame), and is planned for a 2010 release.

Ho-lee crap. Sean Penn as Larry? Sean Penn as any of the Three Stooges?

So, the rumored cast for the movie includes:

Larry: Sean Penn
Moe: Benicio Del Toro
Curly: Jim Carrey

Carrey’s not a bad choice, but I just can’t see Penn or Del Toro as funny, at least not in a Stooges way. Penn will never live down Jeff Spicoli, of course, but that’s a different kind of funny (and a long time ago). And Del Toro’s funny is of a witty, dry kind, not the Stooges-physical kind.

A better cast:

Larry: Hugh Laurie
Moe: Claudia Black (in a gender switch)
Curly: Kevin James (much as I hate to admit it)

What do you think? Do you like the Penn/Carrey/Del Toro cast, or does it need a revamp?

Nyuck nyuck nyuck:



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  • E

    Just let Sam Raimi direct it, not the damn Farrellys, and have him cast whomever he pleases. It’s clear from his movies that Raimi more intuitively grasps old-school slapstick and screwball comedy (as opposed to modern gross-out and humiliation comedy).

    Twenty-five years ago, I’d have done it with Christopher Lloyd playing all three.

    Today, I’d say David “Peep Show” Mitchell as Larry, Craig “Red Dwarf” Charles as Curly, and Peter Dinklage as Moe.

  • Vomit

    Del Toro as Moe? Blasphemous! For starters, his… “unique” looks don’t exactly say Moe. I have yet to see him in a role where I would consider him funny. I guess time will tell.

    Please don’t ruin my favorite B&W-Era gem.

  • eric-jon rössel waugh

    I’m not sure where ruining comes into the picture. As with any reinterpretation, this is something new that takes its cue from something old. The old thing is still there, and the new thing will either succeed or fail on its own merits.

    The premise of recasting the Stooges is frankly bizarre, and that itself intrigues me. Somewhat. A less obviously comedic cast is probably to its benefit, as comedy is never funny when it knows it’s comedy.

    In overall look, both Sean Penn and Del Toro seem about right. Penn even sort of has Larry Fine’s voice. Jim Carrey just strikes me as a populist concession, though I guess he could work.

  • the rook

    ah, but who would play shemp, the ugliest stooge? Gérard Depardieu? he’s kind of ugly.

  • davis

    the thing about playing these characters is that the actors have to commit fully. penn and del toro can do that. it’s not about being funny people themselves, it’s about committing to the characters. if they do that, it will be funny.

  • Remakes don’t have to be bad. After all, the late Natasha Richardson received her biggest acclaim on Broadway for basically recreating the role of Sally Bowles in Cabaret, a role which was, of course, previously associated with another actress to the point that the general opinion about said role and said actress back in the 70s was that “no one else need play that role again–ever!!!”

    That said, I don’t really see this project falling into that category.

    I’m not all that eager to see Claudia Black play Moe–but I wouldn’t mind seeing her play the Christine McIntyre role. (Christine McIntyre was the actress who appeared in the most Three Stooges shorts, usually as either a villain or a love interest.)

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