After twelve years of development, numerous script revisions, and avoiding a premature death, the Farrelly Brothers' film adaptation of The Three Stooges is finally on its way to becoming a reality. The first actor to officially join the slapstick-happy comedy in its current form was that of Will Sasso as Curly.
Now Will & Grace star Sean Hayes has signed on as the simple-minded Larry, leaving the punishment-dealing Moe as the last role to be filled - and despite previous strong rumors, Johnny Knoxville has reportedly not been offered the part yet.
Deadline had the scoop on Hayes, who's done some voice work here and there (he provided the vocals for Mr. Tinkles in both Cats & Dogs movies) and appeared in films like The Bucket List - but he's best known for playing Jack on Will & Grace. James Marsden (X-Men) was recently rumored to be a front-runner to play Larry in Three Stooges, and he - like Hayes - arguably does best playing wide-eyed goofballs in comedies.
That seems to support the Farrellys' claims that their Three Stooges movie will be "respectful of who the Stooges were." Obviously, everyone has different feelings about Hayes playing Larry, but he seems a decent enough choice to me. To be honest, I have an easier time seeing him play arguably the most dim-witted of the Stooges (isn't that saying something) than I did onetime candidates Paul Giamatti and Sean Penn - and I view both of those fellows as being highly talented character actors.
That leaves Moe as the only Stooge yet to be cast in the Farrellys' film. Hank Azaria has been rumored for a while now as being a serious candidate to play the often infuriated leader of the Three Stooges, but Knoxville shouldn't be counted out just yet either. It's also possible another actor altogether will land the role at the end of the day - so readers, feel free to speculate about your ideal Moe in the meantime.
On that note - it's difficult to assess who exactly is best fit to star as any of the Three Stooges without also wondering whether the comedy trio's brand of cartoonish slapstick and PG-Rated physical antics will fly with contemporary audiences. Not to mention that many an older moviegoer has fond memories of watching the original Stooges shorts when they were younger, and probably considers the Farrelly Brothers' movie blasphemy on principle alone.
Three Stooges is clearly a passion project for the Farrellys and the filmmaking siblings really are in need of a clear-cut hit, which has essentially evaded them since the late 90s. This time around the two won't be aiming to make a boundary-pushing raunch-fest but a loyal adaptation of the Stooges more family-friendly approach to humor. Could that be their ticket to renewed success?
Expect to hear more casting news for The Three Stooges in the near future.