LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Maybe it was just a matter of time before Peter and Bobby Farrelly, the brothers who wrote and directed the comedy “Dumb & Dumber,” made a movie about their original dimwitted inspiration, The Three Stooges.
The result of the Farrelly brothers’ work, “The Three Stooges” movie (bravely being released on Friday 13th), is an updated take on team Larry, Curly and Moe with all their misadventures, slapstick humor, eye pokes and iconic Stooge sound effects - finger-snaps, ‘nyuk-nyuks’ and ‘boinks.’
Starring Sean Hayes, Will Sasso and Chris Diamantopoulos as the trio of boneheads, and with a supporting cast that includes “Modern Family’s” Sofia Vergara, “Curb Your Enthusiasm’s” Larry David and the cast of “Jersey Shore,” the film aims to appeal to kids of all ages who are looking for laughs.
Peter Farrelly recently spoke with Reuters about bringing The Three Stooges back to life on film.
Q: Why did you want to make The Three Stooges?
A: “They were our favorites growing up. They gave us more laughs than any other comedy group.”
Q: How hard was it resurrecting an old vaudeville act?
A: “It’s very tricky, as we didn’t just want to do a version of them, like you might for Batman. We wanted to do Larry, Curly and Moe, exactly as you remembered them. And we wanted to please the hardcore Stooges fans first, but also bring it into a new generation of fans. They were in danger of disappearing. A lot of kids don’t know them now, and we wanted to bring them back in a way that would do them justice. So we always planned to write new material and place them in the present day.
Q: Were you nervous about whether their trademark slapstick comedy might earn a restrictive film rating like “R” versus a more family friendly rating such as PG or PG-13?
A: “We were, because of all the hitting and physical violence. But they gave us a PG as there’s no bad language, no nudity and no blood. Nobody’s really hurt, even though we’re raking chainsaws over people’s heads and the Stooges do all their eye pokes and so on. It’s a kid’s movie. That’s why we did this little scene at the end warning kids not to try it at home. We show them that we use rubber hammers and sound effects. It’s all just fun.”
Q: Casting was obviously crucial. How hard was it finding Sean (Larry), Will (Curly) and Chris (Moe)?
A: “Really hard, but casting’s never been easy for us. Jim Carrey was the 150th guy offered “Dumb & Dumber” - not the 149th, the 150th! That’s the truth. Everyone passed on it and even after that was a hit, we had a hard time getting actors. So, we take a Zen view of it because we’ve been so lucky with our casting. And these three guys we got for this are amazing. We read thousands and when they showed up, I guarantee you they were the best people on the planet for it.
Q: And Larry David plays a nun! How’d you do that?
A: “You get him drunk, ask him to do it and hold him to it when he’s sober. As for the others, I’ve always been a huge Jane Lynch fan, and she’s playing against type as a very sweet Mother Superior. And Sofia Viagra, as we called her, was sensational, an absolute doll. She couldn’t have been more fun. We were under the impression from watching her in ‘Modern Family’ that she exaggerated that accent a bit - but no! It’s the real deal. And then Jennifer Hudson and swimsuit model Kate Upton - we had a hot cast.”
Q: How did you persuade the “Jersey Shore” group to do it?
A: “We first wrote this 12 years ago, and all the hitting and abuse does start to wear you down a bit. So, we wanted the Stooges to split up, and back then we had Moe ending up on “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy.” But that show’s long gone now, so we rewrote for “Jersey Shore.”
Q: With all the antics on their show, were you nervous when they came to work?
A: “The first couple of days I was like, ‘Oh boy, this is going to be a nightmare!’ But they couldn’t have been more gracious and professional. I was shocked at how hard they worked and how easygoing they all were.”
Q: And you’re opening on Friday 13th. You’re obviously not superstitious.
A: (Laughs) “I am, but every day was a bad luck day for The Three Stooges, so what does it matter?”
Reporting By Bob Tourtellotte