Three Stooges bringing zany antics to big screen

November 3, 2008

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) The Three Stooges may have finally found their way back home.

MGM, which showcased the comedy trio in shorts and features as early as 1933, is in the process of acquiring the film rights to the Stooges from Warner Bros., which has been developing a feature project for years.

Filmmakers Peter Farrelly and Bobby Farrelly, most recently in theaters with a remake of "The Heartbreak Kid," are attached to direct the project from their own script. MGM hopes to release the film next November.

"The Three Stooges are a timeless staple of comedy," said Mary Parent, chairman of MGM's worldwide motion picture group. "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."

The Farrellys' screenplay -- described by the filmmakers as "slapstick with heart" -- breaks the feature into four 20-minute shorts, in an approximation of the vaudeville and slapstick pioneers' most common format in the 1920s and '30s. The first episode establishes the bruising, boisterous brothers as 7-year-old castoffs who terrorize the nun-run orphanage that takes them in. Eventually forced to leave, Moe (the hostile leader), Larry (the jokey sidekick) and Curly (the childlike dimwit) try to find a place for themselves in a modern world.

No one is yet attached to star, but over the years thinking has run from unknowns to A-listers such as Russell Crowe and Mel Gibson. Gibson is a Stooges expert who executive-produced an ABC TV movie about the Three Stooges in 2000.

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