MGM Sets 'Three Stooges' Movie for 2009

The Farrelly Brothers have been talking about their "Three Stooges" movie for a long time now, but MGM has actually set a release date for the retro comedy.

The studio announced Monday (Nov. 3) that casting is underway on the untitled Stooges project, with a November 20, 2009 release date planned for the new incarnations of Larry, Moe and Curly.

"The Three Stooges are a timeless staple of comedy and when we heard what the Farrellys had in mind we knew it was time for Larry, Moe and Curly to return to the big screen," says MGM Chairman Mary Parent.

Bobby and Peter Farrelly have written their Stooges film as an origin story for Larry, Moe and Curly, reintroducing viewers to characters who first appeared in MGM shorts in 1933.

"We love The Stooges! They have been sending the world into hysterics for more than 80 years." Peter Farrelly says in a statement. "Movie goers today deserve their own Stooges and we look forward to introducing them to a new generation of knuckleheads."

Should this Stooges film actually come together and make its 2009 release, it would mark the end of a lengthy, creative slapstick-filled, journey.

How long?

Promoting the 2005 Johnny Knoxville comedy "The Ringer," which the Farrellys produced, Peter Farrelly talked about the difficulties of cracking the script.

"We wrote the script like two or three years ago," Farrelly said, noting that the Farrellys had actually been developing the film since the '90s. "It was the hardest script we ever wrote, because just the intrinsic nature of the Stooges, it's a lot of hitting. It's all about the hitting and it wears you down. It wears you out. If you watch an episode, you laugh your butt off. You watch a second, a little less. By the third episode, you're just tired. It's a lot of hitting."

At the time, Farrelly claimed they'd had a breakthrough.

"What we finally came up with is that we've broken it up into four 20-minute episodes, each episode picks up where the last one left off, so they hold together. At the end of that second episode, just when you're really worn out from all the smacking, they have a falling out. They break up and they go their separate ways," he continued, "So for the third episode, they're all on their own and it changes everything. Because now, when Moe hits somebody, it's assault-and-battery."

Farrelly addressed the various casting rumors swirling at the time.

"We went to Clooney," Farrelly said. "He passed. Russell Crowe passed. Benicio was interested. Jeff Daniels was interested. We heard at some point that Sean Penn was interested for Larry. We went to Larry David for Larry and he passed. That's been a hard one to get together."

It's unclear if MGM and the Farrellys are looking at a star-studded comedy or if a group of newcomers will get a break.

The Farrellys were most recently in the press as producers and possibly directors of "Walter the Farting Dog," which may mark the first big screen break for the Jonas Brothers. They most recently directed the pilot for FOX's short-lived "Unhitched," as well as the 2007 remake of "The Heartbreak Kid."

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