Penn Pulls Out of Stooges and Cartel

ON

Oscar winner Sean Penn (Milk) has dropped out of MGM’s The Three Stooges and Universal/Imagine’s Cartel, citing personal reasons. He reportedly won’t work for a year.

Peter and Bobby Farrelly have spent the better part of a decade trying to get “Stooges” off the ground, and in March they pulled off a major casting coup: Penn as Larry, with Jim Carrey as Curly and Benicio Del Toro as Moe.

Now MGM and the Farrellys, who wrote the script and are slated to direct, need to decide whether they will wait for Penn or seek to find a new actor. The film is eyeing a late August start date for a 2010 release.

Universal and Imagine, meanwhile, plan to move ahead on Cartel without Penn and will recast the part. Asger Leth will direct the script, which is still being worked on. The movie had no start date or release date.

Penn has two movies in the can, Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life and Doug Liman’s Fair Game.