My Secret About Curly

In this blog, I’m going to reveal a secret that I’ve been keeping for about seven years.  Read on….

The faces of "Problem Employees" as seen in SBM. Photos by Bill Sawalich

For those who don’t follow me on Facebook, I’m back in New Orleans for NOCAF, the New Orleans Comedy Arts Festival.  I’ve been coming here since the first year, and I love coming back here.  I usually make it out to the Crescent City at least two times a year for NOCAF and the New Orleans Improv Festival.

I just taught two workshops this afternoon, and as always I had a blast! And the trip was a welcomed relief from everyone in LA who had been asking, “Any word on Curly?”

I’ve been OVERWHELMED by all the support I received during the audition process for The Farrelly Brothers‘  Three Stooges film. Unfortunately, I have to share the bad news with you that I’m not moving forward with the audition process….However, I already lost the role about a year ago to Jim Carrey, who was originally cast as Curly.  It’s doubtful at this point that I’ll have another shot at it, but I did my best, and certainly I have literally thousands of people to thank for their support and letters to the Farrellys and 20th Century Fox.

Last Friday, I met with the Farrellys and the producers for my second callback for the role of Curly. I wouldn’t have done a thing differently and I’m very proud of how the audition went. But I was told early this week that I won’t be called back for another audition.

I'm on the cover of the SBM magazine!

A lot of people were concerned that I would be upset because I “lost out” on this opportunity, but I have to say that I gained so much more.

Now, I can finally tell you my “Curly” secret, cast in stone.  About seven years ago, I was working on the film The Ringer with Johnny Knoxville.  During the production, I heard from several sources on the set that the Farrellys were considering me for the part of Curly.

When I got back from our Christmas break that year I started hearing people all over the set talking about it. At the time, The Three Stooges was planned as their next project.

The first Sunday after New Years that year, I went to church in Austin TX to give thanks for all the good fortune I’d had in the past year.  It was a Unitarian Church and they passed out these small square pieces of stone and asked us to write what we wanted to be in the next year on that stone and keep it with us until we saw that change in our lives.

At the time, I was thankful to already be a  working actor in a studio film, I had met my former wife and was deeply in love and I had never felt more fulfilled.  So, I wrote the word “CURLY” in marker on the stone, and kept it with me for over a year.

The Three Stooges project was gasping for life at the time, but I kept hope alive and kept the stone with me at all times.  It traveled all over the country with me, and was in my pocket for most of the shooting of the Ringer.

The Stone represented months of research watching Three Stooges films, reading about Jerome “Curly” Howard and his comedy partners, and my dream of playing this comedy icon.

When it was announced that Jim Carrey had been cast in the role of Curly, Pete Farrelly called me personally to let me know that they had not read any other actors for the role of Curly and that I was still at the top of their list.

I kept the stone on my valet where I’d see it every day so that I could see it and be inspired by the fact that a well respected director would take the time to call me when he was so busy casting a feature.  After a while, I thought about the stone less and less and it was almost lost when I moved…but it appeared mysteriously when I thought it had been lost.

Then it was rumored that Jim Carrey dropped out of the project, and at the premiere of Jackass 3D, Pete Farrelly told me that they hadn’t forgotten about me for the role of Curly.

On the Red Carpet for the 2011 3D Creative Arts Awards

From that moment on, the stone went back in my pocket and it was with me during my callbacks with the Farrellys and work sessions with Mike Cerrone without whom I could not have performed what I considered my best Curly impression at that final callback.

Leading up to my final callback, I was humbled by the support for my audition from friends, fans and people whom I had helped in one way or another in the past. I wished at the time that I could tell them about the secret I had been keeping for 7 years. The secret was not just the stone that was with me all along…in fact, it involved all of them directly.

Subscribe to this blog to read Part II of “My Secret About Curly”…click on the tab to the right of your screen to subscribe.

Published by billchott

Bill Chott is currently appearing in Marshall's Miracle, a family film about a courageous dog who survived hardships to triumph as a therapy dog. For five years he was on the Emmy-Winning Disney's Wizards of Waverly Place. Originally from St. Louis Missouri, he is a member of his high school's Hall of Fame, a Broadway Award winner for his work in I Love Lucy Live on on Stage, and the winner of the INNY awards for Best Improv Coach. He attended Central Methodist University and trained in Improvisation at The Second City. There he worked with such comedy powerhouses as Tina Fey, Steve Carrel, Stephen Colbert among many others. Bill starred on The Dana Carvey Show, does cartoon voices on PBS, Saturday Night Live and in film, he appeared in Galaxy Quest, Dude Where's My Car, and he was a lead role as Thomas, the Special Olympian who brings home the bronze in the Farrelly Bros. film The Ringer.

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