The Farrelly Brothers thirteen year quest to bring The Three Stooges to the big screen has hit yet another roadblock. Although some momentum was gained when Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro, and Jim Carrey were lined up to play Larry, Moe, and Curly (respectively), the project ultimately continued to spin circles in development hell.
Penn was the first to jump ship and even though he later considered returning, Carrey had by that point decided to abandon the film as well. Combined with MGM’s continuing legal woes, the prospect of a Three Stooges movie became increasingly uncertain.
Carrey recently sat down with MTV and speculated that audiences won’t be seeing the Farrelly’s modern-day interpretation of the iconic trio any time soon:
“I think it’s dead … it’s dead at least with me.”
That may be the case, but just because this incarnation of The Three Stooges movie never came to pass doesn’t mean the Farrelly’s will give up on it altogether. If their passion for the project has carried them through thirteen years of obstacles, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they simply put it on the back burner and return to it again at some point in the future.
Even if that’s the case, don’t expect to see Carrey’s name attached to The Three Stooges ever again. He explains that his departure was related purely to concerns for his health:
“For me, I don’t really want to do anything halfway, and I don’t feel like a fat suit does it … I started experimenting with it a little bit, and I gained 35, 40 pounds. I wanted to gain another 30, 40. When you’re [Robert] De Niro in your 20s or early 30s, you can kind of come back from that. It’s a tough thing to come back from when you’re upwards of 30. Your body can’t carry it or you can have a cardiac arrest.”
And of course there would be the added strain of the Stooges’ well-known brand of physical comedy:
“Put that with Sean Penn and Benicio Del Toro slapping me in the head all day long, and someone will lose an eye. It won’t be good … It’ll be like ‘Midnight Express.’ It’ll be awful.”
I’m pretty sure I won’t be the only one who’s quietly relieved by this news. I have nothing against Del Toro, Penn, or Carrey – but all three struck me as somewhat unusual choices to play the Stooges. Not as unusual as the decision to make this film in the first place, though; A Three Stooges biopic maybe - but a series of sketches set in the present day? Pass.
Those guys were one of a kind and the influence they’ve had on comedy is already so far-reaching that there’s just no need for a Hollywood re-imagining. I say just let this one go.