Variety is reporting that Sean Penn has pulled out of multiple film projects so that he can focus on family issues. The news has come as a surprise to the studios involved in the films and has possibly thrown major projects into turmoil.

Penn has informed Universal and Imagine that he will be unable to star in the Asger Leth-directed drama “Cartel,” which was to be his next movie. His role will be recast. Studio is putting together a list of actors now and hopes to stick with an early fall start date.

Penn will also be unable to make the start date of 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.

As someone who thinks that Penn peaked in Carlito’s Way, I can’t say that I find this very upsetting. In fact, when it comes to the Three Stooges film, this might be the best shot the movie has of not sucking harder than a thai hooker with loose dentures.