Benicio Del Toro Still the Front Runner for Moe in 'The Three Stooges'

Benicio Del Toro The Three Stooges Moe Howard

Following MGM's reorganization, which placed Spyglass co-heads Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum as co-CEOs of the studio, we're finally seeing some momentum from some of the studio's stalled projects.

James Bond 23 already has a release date and the Farrelly Brothers are eyeing an April start for production on their Three Stooges film with Benicio Del Toro still interested in portraying lead-stooge Moe.

Three Stooges fans have endured an emotional roller coaster ride, ever since the Farrellys announced their intention to bring a new Stooges threesome to the silver screen back in 2009. Since the initial announcement, numerous names have been attached to the three lead roles: Sean Penn as well as Paul Giamatti were both, at one point, set to play zany middleman Larry, and Jim Carrey was considered a lock for the role of knucklehead Curly - until MGM's legal problems seemingly destroyed the chance of the film ever being produced.

Despite a lot of back and forth over the casting of Larry and Curly, one actor has remained committed, or at least interested, in portraying the the gruff and no-nonsense Moe. Speaking with The Providence Journal, Peter Farrelly confirmed that Benicio Del Toro is still their top choice for Moe Howard:

“We’re casting, but nobody is in right now. Benicio [Del Toro] is the front runner for Moe, but we’ve not made a deal with him yet.”

Though Del Toro hasn't wavered like his potential cast-mates, it's important to remember that he isn't locked for the role  - as recently as two weeks ago we reported on a rumor that Jackass lead Johnny Knoxville, SNL star Andy Samberg, and Australian comedian Shane Jacobson could be on the Farrelly's shortlist for Moe, Larry, and Curly respectively.The rumor was quickly dismissed as untrue and annoying by Peter Farrelly but still indicates there's some uncertainty surrounding the casting of the film's three leads.

As for who might join Del Toro (assuming the actor signs-on) in the iconic roles previously held by Penn and Carrey, it appears to be anyone's game:

“The problem is that everybody’s gotta read for the part. Our feeling is that it just can’t be your take on Moe. It’s gotta be Moe. Someone could nail Curly’s mannerisms, but if you’re 130 pounds it probably wouldn’t work.”

As we get closer to The Three Stooges production start date in April, it'll be interesting to see who the Farrelly Brothers decide is, or is not, Larry, Curly, and Moe. Considering their interest in accomplished and diverse actors such as Benicio Del Toro, Jim Carrey, Sean Penn, and Paul Giamatti, the Farrellys seem to have a unique vision for how to resurrect the iconic comedy trio and it's unlikely that the directors will turn to typical comedians like Knoxville and Samberg.

Farrelly Brothers Three Stooges Movie

That said, if you're expecting the Farrellys to ditch their slap-stick roots and channel Milos Forman's Man on the Moon (which starred Carrey as funny-man Andy Kaufman), Peter Farrelly also discussed the story (which, we previously reported, will feature three very different acts with an interlaced story):

“It’s all new material. It’s not a biopic. We want to give a matinee feel to it. But none of the studios had any interest in it at the beginning. There was a lot to prove. We even had to show that in the script, despite all the hitting the Stooges were known for, it could be a PG movie.”

With traditionally slapstick subject matter, and a roster of films including Shallow Hal, The Heartbreak Kid, and Stuck on You, it'll be intriguing to watch production unfold - and see how the filmmakers utilize an actor like Del Toro, should he sign on the dotted line.

Follow us on Twitter @benkendrick and @screenrant and let us know who you think should play the iconic Stooges.

The Three Stooges is tentatively scheduled to hit theaters in 2012.

Source: The Providence Journal [via Cinemablend]

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