Nikki Reed Joins Dwayne Johnson Heist Flick

The heist film Empire State has been racking up the star-studded names for itself lately.  You’ve got Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in what I presume is the lead, and apparently that guy ain’t going anywhere.  You’ve got Liam Hemsworth from The Hunger Games that the kids seem to like, and you’ve got Jerry “Turtle” Ferrara from Entourage.  You’ve got Eric Roberts’ kid, Emma, who was in that not-very-good Scream 4 last year, and who also caused quite the kerfuffle because she publicly stated she did not prefer Robert Pattinson’s character in the Twilight films (horrors!).  And speaking of Twilight, you’ve also got Kristen Stewart’s ex, Michael Angarano, and now just added, Nikki Reed who played one of those vampire chicks.

Of course, I didn’t give a crap about any of this until it was announced that there would be two guys in the flick who had each played Moe Howard.

The plot of Empire State is based on a true story of the heist of an armored car company in New York, which was believed to have been a massively well foreplanned criminal conspiracy when in reality it was just two friends who took the money and ran.  Chris Diamantopoulos is cast to play a mob boss who smells something fishy with the whole thing, and the actor is probably best known for his recent role as Moe in the Farrelly brothers’ Three Stooges movie earlier this year.

As you may or may not know, I am an avowed Stoogeophile; in fact, I write this piece as I do much of my writing, beneath the watchful eyes of all six of the original Three Stooges, whose framed portraits hang above my desk (hey, as far as disturbing peeks into my life go, this is nothing).  So naturally, there was no way I was gonna plunk down good money to go see this Three Stooges.  But I will say that Diamantopoulos likely does the best Moe Howard since the original Harry Moses Horwitz shuffled off this mortal coil in 1975.  And that is not praise I dole out unthinkingly.

This is no offense whatsoever to Paul Ben-Victor, who is also cast in Empire State and played Moe Howard in the mostly atrocious made-for-TV Stooges biopic from 2000.  I did actually watch this, and yeah, it was pretty bad.  Even if I didn’t know how horribly inaccurate the whole things was, the tendency to lean on schmaltzy sentiment would have turned me way off on its own.  But!  Paul Ben-Victor did a great job as Moe, and I’d been following his character-actor work for years before that.  Aside from a minor recurring role on NYPD Blue, he’s done rock-solid work in stuff like Tombstone, True Romance, and even one of those just-okay made-for-TV movies based on Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct novels.  Also, two words: The Wire.  So, I don’t know what part Ben-Victor will be playing in Empire State, but one thing is perfectly clear to me:

Just say Moe.