The daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz has signaled her approval of a forthcoming movie about her famous parents, noting that the divisive casting choices are a “done deal.”
Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, Amazon’s “Being the Ricardos” will take place during one production week of the classic sitcom “I Love Lucy,” which ran from 1951 to 1957. The screenplay follows Ball and Arnaz as they “face a crisis that could end their careers and another that could end their marriage.”
As of last week, Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem were said to be in final negotiations to play Ball and Arnaz, respectively.
After news of the film’s as-yet-unofficial casting broke, many fans expressed their disapproval on Twitter by suggesting a litany of other actors who could portray Ball. Debra Messing, who nailed an impression of Ball’s “I Love Lucy” character on the final season of “Will & Grace” last year, went a step further by retweeting messages about why she should star in Sorkin’s movie.
On Sunday, Lucie Arnaz released a short video on her Facebook page attempting to quell the ongoing “Being the Ricardos” debate. In it, she urged viewers to “trust the creative process” behind the project, which she described as “a nice film.”
Arnaz, a theater and TV actor who is an executive producer of “Being the Ricardos,” confirmed the movie’s reported casting in her video, but emphasized that actors’ contracts had not yet been signed. Many of the dissenting voices, she added, were overly fixated on Ball’s Hollywood persona.
“No one has to impersonate Lucy Ricardo nor do the Vitameatavegamin routine, or the chocolate factory routine or any of the silly things,” she said. “It’s the story of Lucille Ball, my actual mother, not Lucy Ricardo, and her husband, Desi Arnaz, my dad, not Ricky Ricardo.”
Though much of the dramatic action in “Being the Ricardos” is set against the backdrop of “I Love Lucy,” Arnaz stressed that the sitcom will not be an integral part of the film.
“Very little of the show is actually ‘I Love Lucy’-type stuff,” she said. “I don’t think you will be disappointed with that, however. … It is a two-hour feature film about these two people and some of the remarkable things they lived through.”
In an apparent wink at America’s current political climate, she concluded, “The voting is over.”
A four-time Emmy winner and Television Hall of Fame inductee, Ball died in 1989 at age 77. Arnaz died in 1986 at age 69. The couple divorced in 1960 after 20 years of marriage and also had a son, Desi Arnaz Jr.
In 2017, it was reported that Cate Blanchett was being eyed to play Ball in an earlier incarnation of “Being the Ricardos,” which was then titled “Lucy and Desi.” A CBS miniseries simply titled “Lucy” aired in 2003, featuring Rachel York and Danny Pino as Ball and Arnaz.
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