Peter and Bobby Farrelly are still on the hunt for their new Three Stooges. The cast was once assembled, with Benicio del Toro set to play Moe, Jim Carrey set for Curly and Sean Penn as Larry. But that splintered, starting when Sean Penn took a sabbatical from work, and late last year the film moved from MGM to Fox, where it is fast-tracked to shoot this spring.

But, as of now, there are no Stooges. Johnny Knoxville and Andy Samberg have been tenuously linked to roles, and the brothers have recently said that Benicio del Toro is still an option for Moe. Now, in an interview to promote Hall Pass, the brothers have mentioned an unlikely collection of additional options: Woody Harrelson, Larry David, Hank Azaria and Justin Timberlake.

Bobby Farrelly maintains to the Boston Herald that the key roles remain open, and that they’re going to pick any one of the stooges and then build the rest of the core cast him. And that will happen “within three weeks,” he says.

There are no direct quotes in the article in which either of the brothers drops additional names, but the Herald mentions Justin Timberlake as Larry, and also that Woody Harrelson and Larry David have been “reached out to” for Larry, and that Hank Azaria has been considered for Moe and “a host of unknowns” for Curly.

Larry David is so specific that at first I can’t even imagine him as anyone other than Larry David, which is essentially who he played when he stood in for Woody Allen in Whatever Works. And the fact that he, Woody Harrelson and Justin Timberlake are all mentioned for the same character suggests that the film is really kind of up in the air. I don’t know to what degree we should consider these are real options; it just shows how broad the thinking is getting.

Let’s go to the recap of recent comments by the filmmakers with respect to the film. The brothers say that it is a straight-up Stooges movie, for one:

This isn’t a Farrelly version of The Three Stooges. This is The Three Stooges. And, it’s not a biopic, by the way. We’ve written three new episodes. The movie is actually three episodes that go back to back to back. Each one picks up where the other one left off. We want you to look at it and say, “It’s Mo, Larry and Curly!,” so we have very high standards on this route.

They also acknowledge the challenge of making new Stooges stories that are set in the present day featuring new actors but the same classic gags and tone. (Their movie is written as three connected half-hour shorts.)

The Stooges themselves, we can’t beat. But I think we can beat the material. And it’s because they didn’t have a budget. We don’t have a huge budget, but they didn’t have anything. They were working on nothing. They were creating something out of thin air to put in the present day and put in the real world; updating it allows us to be better than they were.

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