Warner Bros. picked up the feature rights for a movie based on the Three Stooges characters and has brought in Peter and Bobby Farrelly to script and supervise the mayhem.
The Farrellys and their Conundrum Entertainment partner Bradley Thomas will produce, and the Farrellys may direct the film. It is a feature project the brothers have coveted since early in their careers. Many filmmakers have attempted to featurize the misadventures of Moe, Larry, and Curly over the past 25 years, going back to Mel Brooks, who decided the slapstick didn’t sustain a feature length film and instead turned his effort into the 1976 comedy “Silent Movie.”
The project was developed for years by Interscope and Columbia, the latter of which produced the 190 black and white shorts made by the troupe between 1934 and 1958.
The Farrellys once offered to make the film for no money upfront, but never came to terms. Numerous other drafts by the likes of George Gallo to Danny Jacobson came and went. The Farrellys sparked to the project after being approached by WB, where they produced and directed the live action/animation comedy “Osmosis Jones.”
“The problem was that Interscope and we saw the project going in different directions,” Peter Farrelly said. “That is why it fell apart. We just did ‘Osmosis Jones’ at Warner Bros., and they told us the rights were available.”
While the Stooge shorts were never deep on plot, Farrelly said there’s nothing shallow about the three characters and their comic potential.
“We’ll set them in present day, no explanation, no being their grandsons, no coming back in time from the past,” he said. “This film is probably the most dangerous territory we’ve gone into, because these figures are beloved, by men at least. They were geniuses, and no matter how much we pull this off, we’ll never be funnier than the Stooges. There are great opportunities in putting the film in the present day, with technological developments. What would it look like if Moe stuck Curly’s head in a microwave? But no matter what we do, some purists will think this is sacrilege.”
The Farrellys have been torch carriers for the slapstick-sight gag Stooge humor in films like “There’s Something About Mary,” “Dumb and Dumber” and “Me, Myself & Irene.”
The film will be exec produced by C3 Entertainment principals Earl and Robert Benjamin, who are the stepsons of Curly Joe DeRita, the burlesque-circuit comic who joined founding Stooge members Moe Howard and Larry Fine the Stooges in the ’60s, following the deaths of Jerome “Curly” Howard and Shemp Howard. George Paige will also exec produce.