Sean Penn Shocks Studios; Pulls Out Of Two Movies

Jun. 17 2009, Published 11:29 a.m. ET

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In a move that shocked not one, but two movie studios, two-time Academy Award winner Sean Penn has pulled out of two films, The Three Stooges and Cartel.

Penn cited personal reasons and will take an undetermined sabbatical -- possibly as much as a year -- to focus on his family, according to Variety.

Penn has informed Universal and Imagine that he will be unable to star in the Asger Leth-directed drama Cartel, which tells the story of a man fighting to protect his son after his wife is murdered by Mexican cartels.

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Cartel was to be Penn's next movie. Studio execs --said to be taken completely by surprise by Penn's decision -- will recast his role and hope to still start shooting in early fall.

Penn also says he will not be able to honor the start date for the MGM comedy The Three Stooges. He was to star as Larry in the pic, directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly. Stooges also stars Jim Carrey as Curly and Benicio Del Toro as Moe. It's unclear if the studio will recast or wait for Penn to return to work.

Recently, Penn withdrew a petition to divorce his wife, actress Robin Wright Penn. The couple -- who've been married for more than 12 years and have 2 children -- have a history of marital problems. (Photo: WENN)


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