The Farrelly brothers are set to begin their modern adaptation of The Three Stooges, seen here circa 1940, from top, Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard. ((Hulton Archive/Getty Images) )

Larry, Curly and Moe are set to return to the silver screen, as the Farrelly Brothers have received a green light for their long-gestating Three Stooges film.

MGM, the studio that first screened shorts and feature films about the bumbling vaudeville-era comedy trio, is acquiring the rights to the project by Peter and Bobby Farrelly that the two have been trying to produce at Warner Bros. for several years, according to industry papers Variety and Hollywood Reporter.

"It takes place in present day, and they look, dress and sound exactly like the Stooges," Peter Farrelly told Daily Variety, referring to the three actors who have yet to be chosen for the roles.

"When the economy started turning, we felt like the world could use a Stooges slapfest. Bobby and I haven't done a real physical comedy in a while, and it's the most exciting thing we could think of now, to have people go to the movie, see some great slapstick fun family humour."

The contemporary comedy will comprise several 20- to 30-minute shorts — in honour of the Stooges' vaudeville past — that follow an overall storyline.

The Farrellys, who wrote the screenplay with Michael Cerrone, are also set to direct and co-produce the picture.

MGM is eyeing a November 2009 release.

"We know this is extremely difficult to pull off. We realize some Stooges fans will be upset no matter what we do," Peter Farrelly said.

"We love the Stooges and honour their memory, and we don't want them to disappear. We hope that next Thanksgiving, dads will introduce their kids to the Stooges and create a new generation of knuckleheads."

The Farrellys — whose credits include comedies like There's Something About Mary, Dumb and Dumber, Shallow Hal and The Heartbreak Kid — are also slated for a film adaptation of New Brunswick author Glenn Murray's Walter the Farting Dog books, with teen music heartthrobs the Jonas Brothers set to star.