Eye-gouging, hair pulling, slapping, insults and nose-thwacking – all of that should have already occurred in the Farrelly Brothers The Three Stooges big-screen adaptation, but since MGM’s bankruptcy troubles over the past year, fans of the “wize guys” have heard nothing but disappointing news as the project has floundered in production limbo.

Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your point of view) 20th Century Fox bought the rights to The Three Stooges movie from MGM and it looks like film is finally making some headway.

After Fox took over, the actors originally attached to the project – Benicio Del Toro and Jim Carrey as Moe and Curly, Sean Pean and then Paul Giamatti as Larry – all pulled their names out of the Stooges hat, leaving all three titular roles vacant.

Production on Three Stooges is supposed to begin in a couple of months and The Wrap is reporting that the Farrelly’s have a shortlist of potential candidates to play Moe, Larry Curly. According to them, Jackass star Johnny Knoxville, SNL regular Andy Samberg and Australian comedian Shane Jacobson are all on bubble to play Moe, Larry and Curly respectively.

Knoxville was great in the Farrelly Brothers movie The Ringer and can usually hold his own when it comes to acting (the horrible Dukes of Hazzard remake notwithstanding) so he should do fine as Moe. Shane Jacobson is a dark horse choice as Curly because he is mostly unknown to American audiences but after watching some of his standup I think he would do just fine – he certainly has the build for it.

My only real reservation is with the possible casting of Andy Samberg. He’s completely brilliant when it comes to doing sketch comedy and his Lonely Island digital shorts are some of the best stuff SNL has put out in the past 15 years. That being said, the only movie he’s tried to carry as a lead was Hot Rod and whether it was the director or script writer’s  fault, Samberg was an out-of-place ham and I fear he would be the same way in The Three Stooges.

Much like the original shorts, The Three Stooges will be divided into three twenty-seven minute segments and should be rated a very family friendly PG. Below is what we know about the story for the film so far:

The trio are dumped out as newborns at the door of an orphanage…and follows them to adulthood and is very much in the spirit of the original shorts, in which the blue collar bumblers got the best of the wealthy society matrons that tried to exploit them.

The Farrelly Brothers have put forth several great comedies in the past decade. Even though Stuck on You got a lump of coal from me this past Christmas, I’m sure they will do what it takes to make The Three Stooges a great film that honors the original intent behind the characters created by Moe Howard, Curly Howard and Larry Fine.

The Three Stooges is set to release sometime in 2012.

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Source: The Wrap