Rumors have been circulating Hollywood today, that recent Oscar winner Sean Penn has decided to take some time off -- up to a year -- to deal with some personal matters.  HitFix can confirm this is the actor's current plan, but  leaves in question the status of two of his upcoming pictures.

Penn was set to star "Cartel," a Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment thriller for up and coming filmmaker Asger Leth. No word yet from the studio on the status of this production.

More clear is the fate of the Farrelly Brothers long awaited "Three Stooges" reboot where Penn had agreed to play Larry Sources close to HitFix reveal the picture is still a "go" for MGM with Benicio Del Toro (Moe) and Jim Carrey (Curly) already on board.  The studio may wait for Penn or may recast depending on how much time the actor really decides to take off.  In any event, MGM has no plans to scuttle the production at this time.

It's been a busy 2009 for Penn after winning his second best actor Academy Award for his portrayal of slain civil rights leader Harvey Milk in "Milk." The 49-year-old actor recently completed production on the Doug Liman true-life thriller "Fair Game" where he played Ambassador Joseph Wilson, the husband of outed CIA Agent Valerie Palme (Naomi Watts). He'll be seen later this year in the Terrence Malick drama "The Tree of Life" alongside Brad Pitt.

More news on this story as it develops on HitFix.