'Three Stooges' Movie Still Alive; MGM Bankruptcy Approved

MGM Approves Spyglass Entertainment bankruptcy chapter 11

After more than year of legal hijinks, with some of our most anticipated movie franchises hanging in the balance, the MGM bankruptcy saga is finally becoming another matter for the history books.

Last we reported, MGM had finalized a restructuring proposal with new partner Spyglass Entertainment, naming Spyglass co-heads Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum as co-CEOs of MGM. A U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York accepted the proposal and a judge had only to approve it. Now, as THR reports, that approval has come.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stuart Bernstein has approved MGM's restructuring plan, which is expected to go into effect within the next two weeks. For more on the exact details of the restructuring plan (which involves only making a few modestly-budgeted films a year), go HERE.

Here's what MGM  (via co-chief and "corporate turnaround specialist" Stephen Cooper) had to say about finally putting this unseemly business to rest:

“Today’s ruling is an important milestone for MGM...Thanks to the support of our lenders and the hard work of our employees, we have moved through the restructuring process quickly.  By dramatically reducing MGM’s debt load and providing MGM with access to new capital, the reorganization plan the court confirmed today will enable MGM to emerge from this process with a solid financial foundation and will position MGM to be a successful studio going forward.”

Thankfully, the results of this MGM matter being settled are already being felt throughout Hollywood:

Peter Jackson's two-part adaptation of Lord of the Rings prequel The Hobbit has already been pushed into production (thanks to helping hand from New Line/Warner Bros.) and is aiming to be in theaters by late 2012.

Today brought word that the long-delayed 23rd James Bond film is headed back into production. Star Daniel Craig will be back as Bond and now we are just waiting to hear word whether or not director Sam Mendes will direct the film, as was once rumored. That film is also aiming to hit theaters in 2012.

However, there were other stalled MGM films besides Bond and Bilbo Baggins that movie fans have been waiting to hear about, namely the Red Dawn and Robocop remakes, as well as the big-screen version of The Three Stooges. Well, now Deadline has a scoop on the latter film.


The Three Stooges

Farrelly Brothers Three Stooges Movie

Indeed, it seems that there's been new life breathed into The Farelley Brothers' Three Stooges movie. 20th Century Fox has apparently taken over the project from MGM, with the Farellys still in the directors' chairs using a script they wrote with Mike Cerrone (Me, Myself & Irene). Earl Benjamin, keeper of Stooges estate will exec produce.

The plot will reach all the way back to when the Stooges are dumped on an orphanage doorstep as babies, and follow them as they grow up into adulthood, likely landing in a blue-collar existence, cracking-wise and tormenting rich patrons who employ them - a la the original comedy shorts. Deadline claims that Let Me In actor Richard Jenkins is being sought to play the head of the orphanage.

Of course The Three Stooges is facing a major setback: Benicio Del Toro, Sean Penn and Jim Carrey were set to play Moe, Larry, and Curly, respectively at one point, but not anymore. At the current time, Carrey has backed out and Del Toro's attachment is unclear, while Sean Penn backed out, was almost replaced by Paul Giamatti, came back to the film and then backed out again. However, as the Farrellys told Deadline, finding a cast is not a big worry:

"The script is ready to go, and we are opening up these roles to the world right now...We'll make it with the best possible people. Our feeling is that no star is too big to audition and no matter who it is, we're going to have to see him in the role. This is not The Flinstones. You've got to be Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard, and that could be a major movie star or an unknown."

Fox wants to get The Three Stooges into production on March 14, 2011, so I'm sure we'll be hearing casting news soon. Are you hoping that Del Toro, Penn, Carrey and/or Giamatti return to the project? Or is another (unknown?) actor your preference?

Sources: Deadline & THR

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