DID YOU READ

Tim Grierson on “The Three Stooges” and the Risk of Casting Non-Stars

Will Sasso, Chris Diamantopoulos and Sean Hayes in "The Three Stooges"

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Replacing cultural icons isn’t easy. For modern-day films, that challenge usually involves finding the right actor for a reboot of Superman or Spider-Man, but this Friday comes a new movie based on a property older than your typical comic-book character. It’s “The Three Stooges,” the big-screen remake inspired by the slapstick comedy act that first appeared on screen more than 80 years ago.

For a few generations of fans, Larry, Curly and Moe will always be, respectively, Larry Fine, Curly Howard and Moe Howard, but time marches on, and directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly had to find actors who could play these roles. Those are big shoes to fill. At one point, it looked like Sean Penn, Jim Carrey and Benicio Del Toro were going to do it, but instead “The Three Stooges” will star three lesser-known actors. So, who are these guys? One of them, you’ll probably recognize. The other two, you might need a little help.

The most famous of the trio is Sean Hayes, who will be Larry. His claim to fame was his role in the long-running sitcom “Will & Grace” as Jack, which earned him seven Emmy nominations. (He won once, in 2000.) Like a lot of actors who find success on TV, Hayes has mostly moved from thing to thing since — including doing one-off episodes for “Portlandia” and “30 Rock” — but most everybody still associates him with Jack, which I’m sure is a bit of a blessing and a curse.

But that’s still more high-profile than our new Curly, Will Sasso. Clean-shaven and beefy like Curly Howard before him, Sasso appeared on “Mad TV” for several seasons, and he’s kicked around since, starring on the short-lived “$#*! My Dad Says” and doing voices on “The Cleveland Show” and “Family Guy.” Although he’s played characters in movies like “Life as We Know It,” he’s primarily been an impression guy, spoofing Bill Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Randy Newman. So perhaps playing Curly isn’t that huge of a stretch — he basically just needs to imitate Howard.

Then there’s Chris Diamantopoulos. Before being cast as Moe, he was probably most famous for portraying Robin Williams in the 2005 TV movie “Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of ‘Mork & Mindy.’” Like Sasso, Diamantopoulos has gained notoriety for playing famous people — and his Williams is pretty darn good — but he’s also been able to establish an acting career with stints on “24” and “The Starter Wife.” Currently, he’s also the guy in those Charles Schwab ads.

All in all, decent résumés, but let’s be honest: We’re a long ways away from Sean Penn, Jim Carrey and Benicio Del Toro. And maybe that’s for the best. “The Three Stooges” represents a lifelong dream for the Farrelly brothers, whose biggest hit (“There’s Something About Mary”) was 14 years ago, which might as well be several lifetimes ago in Hollywood years. They’ve had a series of duds of late, but there was a sense that if they could just make this movie happen, then maybe they could right the ship. And while bigger stars in “The Three Stooges” would have definitely helped at the box office, the filmmakers insist that they ended up with the right cast — perhaps in part because they found guys you wouldn’t necessarily know from a lot of other roles. At least that’s how Peter Farrelly explained it in a recent interview:

“This movie couldn’t have been made any better with anyone else, the three we got are incredible. We’ve always been blessed to have people pass on us. We could sit here and say, it was a choice, but we couldn’t get anybody! People were scared to death to do this movie because of the criticism you see all over the internet and also because we were clear on one thing. We said, you’re not doing a version of Moe, Larry or Curly. You’re doing Moe, Larry and Curly, on the nose. This isn’t Batman, where different actors come in and do their thing. Nobody liked that. So we decided to cast the best Moe, Larry and Curly out there and these are the guys we came up with.”

And now they’re going to have to see if audiences are happy that these are the guys the Farrellys came up with. Like with a Batman or James Bond movie, “The Three Stooges” doesn’t necessarily need stars — it just needs someone who feels right for the part. Looking at the publicity materials, Hayes, Sasso and Diamantopoulos are reasonable physical facsimiles of Larry, Curly and Moe. Now they just have to convince us they’ve got the original trio’s comic timing and rapport. And, really, not being big stars probably won’t make any difference in that regard. Just being funny will probably be good enough.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.

via GIPHY

It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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