Do nuns and knuckleheads go together? Most "soitenly" -- at least in The Three Stooges: The Movie when it opens April 13.
These sisters have their hands full with the famous brotherly trio of nitwits known as Curly (Will Sasso), Larry (Sean Hayes) and Moe (Chris Diamantopolous), who land at an orphanage as year-old foundlings and spend their entire lives there. That is, until financial troubles threaten to shut down the only home they've known.
Among those donning a habit is Jane Lynch, whose Mother Superior is cut from a kinder cloth than her bullying cheerleader coach Sue Sylvester on TV's Glee.
"Beneficent" is how Lynch describes her character: "She cares about the Stooges."
Why did Lynch sign on for the PG-rated comedy directed by the Farrelly brothers (Bobby and Peter of Dumb and Dumber) that emulates the threesome's popular film shorts from the 1930s and '40s but is set in contemporary times?
"I always say, 'Because they asked me to,'" says Lynch, 51, who took on a role once intended for Cher.
Not that she was a big Stooges fan as a youngster.
"I watched them when they were on TV, but I can't say I loved them. The violence really bothered me. But they were woven into the cultural fabric of my childhood."
Although raised a Catholic, she attended public schools -- which tend not to be patrolled by nuns.
"I do remember when they switched to regular clothes at progressive churches. They looked well, I didn't know what lesbian meant back then. I just thought they looked sporty," says the openly gay Lynch. She did give her character a back story: "Some guy probably broke her heart in high school and she said, 'I am going to a nunnery.'"
Her fellow sisters could not be more eclectic. They include Jennifer Hudson as Sister Rosemary. Says Lynch: "She's sassy, smart-mouthed and beautiful. She has some really sweet moments," including performing This Little Light of Mine.
Larry David, the annoying curmudgeon on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, plays Stooges archnemesis Sister Mary-Mengele (whose name is inspired by Josef Mengele, the Nazi concentration camp doctor).
David "is so nice," Lynch says. "You are aware of his weirdness, but he has a social chip as opposed to his character on his show."
Though the original Stooges weren't big on cheesecake, the Farrellys couldn't resist casting Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover girl Kate Upton as Sister Bernice, who provides a poolside sight gag. "She has a nun-kini," Lynch says. "Gorgeous."
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