Paul Giamatti, Larry Fine, Sean Penn

Lester Cohen/Getty Images, Tony Barson/Getty Images

Could Paul Giamatti be a contender to replace Sean Penn in The Three Stooges movie?

Quite possibly.

Just last week, Penn announced that he was dropping out of the comedy, along with the drama Cartel, to take time off to focus on his family.

Penn was to have played Larry Fine opposite Benicio Del Toro and Jim Carrey as brothers Moe and Curly Howard.

So how does Giamatti fit into all of this?

While Giamatti was at last week's Nantucket Film Festival, a reporter from the Boston Herald suggested he replace Penn.

It just so happens that Bobby and Peter Farrelly, who will codirect the Stooges flick from a script they wrote, were also at the festival.

Bobby told the newspaper that Giamatti would be a "sensational Larry."

However, Peter noted that they already have an offer out to somebody else.

For the record, Giamatti's rep tells me there have been no talks between the actor and the Farrellys.

The flick isn't a bio pic but a slapstick comedy based on the short films the trio made for Columbia Pictures in the 1930s and '40s. Production on the new movie is set to begin this fall with a release planned for 2010.

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