By Lynette Rice
Updated June 16, 2009 at 12:00 PM EDT

Sean Penn has pulled out of the Asger Leth-directed drama Cartel and may not be able to make the start date of his anticipated MGM comedy The Three Stooges, helmed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly and costarring Jim Carrey and Benicio del Toro, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

A source close to Penn tells EW that the actor wants to take some time off to work on his marriage with actress Robin Wright Penn. Twice in the past two years, most recently last month, the couple has seemed on the verge of splitting, before ultimately reconciling.

A Cartel production source says that Penn will be replaced, but a new actor has not been cast yet. Sources close to The Three Stooges are hopeful that Penn will remain in the cast of that film if the beginning of production can be pushed to a later date (it had been eyeing an August start, reportedly). Penn recently wrapped Fair Game, a drama based on former C.I.A. agent Valerie Plame’s memoir. (Additional reporting by Nicole Sperling)