Goofball. Wiseguy. Knucklehead.

Lance Chantiles-Wertz of Spring Garden Township joined those ranks with a role in "The Three Stooges" movie released earlier this month.

The ninth-grader played a young version of Larry - the character with the receding hairline and wacky facial expressions that gets caught in the middle of eye-poking and face-slapping antics.

The Stooges, a 1920s vaudeville act that careened onto the big screen in 1930, have permeated pop culture so completely that kids today are still watching. Lance said he was familiar with the trio of misfits even before he landed the role.

He earned an unexpected audition for the Farrelly brothers Stooges update thanks to his friend and fellow actor Abigail Breslin. The two performed in "The Miracle Worker" on Broadway. Abigail's agent thought Lance would make a great kid Larry.

"I watched every single Stooges episode where Larry is prominent," Lance said about how he prepared for the part.

After the audition, he got a callback, and a short time later, met with directors Bobby and Peter Farrelly, who cast him.

The movie, Lance said, starts when the Stooges are babies. The first few scenes follow their early years and that's when Lance - as a 12-year-old Larry - makes his feature film debut.

"It sets up who the Stooges were and . . . it sets up the personalities," Lance said of the part. "(Larry) did play the violin and I do get to play the violin in the movie, which was a lot of fun."

Singer. Dancer. Actor.

That's how Lance's career evolved. When he was a toddler, his parents took him to Broadway shows, including "The Music Man." He told his parents he wanted to act. So now, the family splits time between New York City and York County. Lance's mother, Sharon, travels with him. His father, J. Kevin, works in the area. They re-unite on weekends. Lance is enrolled in an online school.

He started in The Metropolitan Opera Children's Chorus, then went onto the New York City Ballet. He got an agent and booked voice-over work. Next, came roles on "Pan Am," "A Gifted Man" and Disney's kid comedy series "Zeke & Luther."

The voice-over work helped Lance transition into a Stooge. His dance experience came in handy during physical comedy gags. On set, he even got to meet Craig Bierko, who plays Mac in the film and was "The Music Man" Lance saw on stage more than a decade ago.

The three young Stooges also had lunch with the actors who play the fully-grown trio in the current movie - Sean Hayes, Will Sasso and Chris Diamantopoulos. Hayes worked with Lance on Larry's mannerisms.

At the Los Angeles film premiere, he got to meet family and friends of the original Stooges, which included Louis Fienberg and Moses, Jerome and Samuel Horwitz. For the movie release, Lance and his friends headed to Frank Theatres in York Township and had a small party afterward.

Lance said he's not sure what's next - that's just life in showbiz. But he's hopeful after some recent auditions.

Sharon said she's proud of her son's hard work and positivity, which can be hard for older actors to maintain after disappointments.

"He enjoys the process and the people he meets and the classes he's in," she said.

Online

"The Three Stooges" movie: www.threestooges.com

Classic Stooges: classic.threestooges.com

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