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Chiklis on board Stooges biopic

Gibson to exec produce

“The Commish” as one of the Three Stooges? Why soi-tenly!

Michael Chiklis, who played the title character in ABC’s 1991-95 crime drama, has inked a deal to play Curly in the net’s upcoming biopic about the infamous comedy trio. Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey of Icon Entertainment (“Braveheart”), are teaming with Craig Zadan and Neil Meron of Storyline Entertainment (“Annie”) as exec producers of the project.

Also cast in the two-hour pic: Paul Ben-Victor (“Crazy in Alabama”) as Moe, Evan Handler (ABC’s “It’s Like, You Know …”) as Larry, and John Kassir (“Casper”) as Shemp.

Script by Janet Roach (“Prizzi’s Honor”) and Kirk Ellis (“The Beach Boys: An American Family”) is based on the recently published book “The Three Stooges: From Amalgamated Morons to American Icons,” by Daily Variety columnist Michael Fleming. Pic will chronicle the trio’s vaudeville beginnings and meteoric showbiz rise, with the story told from Moe’s p.o.v.

Production on the pic begins Jan. 27 in Sydney. ABC is targeting the movie for a spring bow.

In addition to re-creating many of the trio’s classic comedy sketches, the screenplay for “The Three Stooges” takes on more serious matters in its exploration of Moe’s relationship with brothers Samuel (Shemp) and Jerome (Curly) and pal Larry Fine.

James Frawley, who directed the “Ally McBeal” pilot and “The Muppet Movie,” has nabbed helming duties. Comedy III Prods. and Interscope Communications will serve as exec producers in association with Columbia TriStar Television. Jim Lemley of Icon will serve as producer.

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