As you may have already heard, Sean Penn has decided to quit Hollywood for a year, reportedly to “focus on his family.” And we applaud him for it — just think of the money it would save if more of our exorbitantly salaried celebrities took yearlong sabbaticals to do the things everyone else has to do while working full-time jobs. Still, his vacation will leave a Penn-size hole in the Farrelly brothers’ planned Three Stooges movie, in which the crotchety actor (who hasn’t made anyone laugh since he played Spicoli) was to portray Larry, alongside Jim Carrey (who’s not been funny since The Cable Guy) and Benicio del Toro (who is less funny than colon cancer). So unless the Farrellys want to wait for Penn and push Stooges’ release into 2011, they’ll need to find an equally humorless star if they intend to keep their film laugh-free. Is anyone up to the task?
Russell Crowe and Mel Gibson were once attached, and either’s casting as Larry would make for a totally unfunny night at the multiplex. Suppose they’ve already passed, though — perhaps another outburst-prone actor, like Christian Bale or Michael Richards? Or even less funny might be a hopelessly unfunny star who’s already long squandered his tiny reserve of comedic appeal with serial roles in lame Focker movies or recurrent cameos on SNL, like Robert DeNiro or Justin Timberlake. What do you think? Is anyone humorless enough to play the straight man to Benicio del Toro? O.J. Simpson? Dennis Quaid? Do your fantasy casting in the comments.