Sean Penn drops The Three Stooges” and crime thriller “Cartel” Sean Penn has dropped out of two high-profile films: “The Three Stooges” and crime thriller “Cartel.” It is understood that the two-time Oscar-winning actor-writer-director is taking a leave from his Hollywood career to focus on his family. Penn’s moves now leave both projects in the lurch, though “Stooges’ ” dilemma is potentially more serious. 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 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. Time and availability are the issues: “Stooges” was eyeing a late August start date, and the studio has slotted it for a 2010 release.