It's no joke: Sean Penn is going slapstick.
The studio MGM says the double Oscar winner has signed on to play Larry in the Farrelly brothers' big-screen update of The Three Stooges.
Jim Carrey was "in negotiations" for the role of Curly, said MGM spokesman Grey Munford. The studio first featured the stooges in a series of shorts and features beginning in 1933.
Munford would not confirm reports that Benicio Del Toro will play Moe.
He said said filming begins this fall on the comedy, which is expected to be released in 2010.
The casting of a serious actor like Penn in the assuredly goofy comedy isn't such a stretch: The actor launched his storied career as goofball Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.