The news that Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem are playing Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in an upcoming movie is not sitting well with longtime I Love Lucy fans. Kidman is a good actress, but some pointed out that she might not have the comedy chops to play one of the funniest women ever to grace the big and small screen. Others suggested that the Cuba-born Arnaz should not be played by Bardem, born in Las Palmas, Spain.
The new movie is titled Being the Ricardos and will be written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, who recently helmed The Trial of the Chicago 7 for Netflix. The story will take place during the one-week production of a single I Love Lucy episode, while Ball and Arnaz juggle personal and career crises, reports Deadline. Amazon Studios and Escape Artists are producing the film, which counts Arnaz and Ball's children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr, as executive producers.
The film has been in the works for years, with Cate Blanchett reportedly interested in playing Ball in 2017. After making The Trial of the Chicago 7 as both writer and director, Sorkin decided to direct the new movie himself. Bardem and Kidman's decision to join helped get the project moving, but their contracts have not been finalized yet. Production is not scheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Neither Kidman nor Bardem actually have deals in place yet, and Sorkin will still have to deal with the pandemic and its related shutdowns even once those deals happen...” https://t.co/J8yLYMrTud
We don’t have to do this. The casting is *way* off, to say nothing of Sorkin.— Monica Castillo (@mcastimovies) January 11, 2021
Bardem's casting as one of the most famous Cubans in Hollywood history reminded many of the recent controversy surrounding Penelope Cruz. Back in October, Variety called out Universal Pictures for featuring Cruz as a Colombian character in the upcoming all-star spy movie The 355. Cruz, like her husband Bardem, is also Spanish. She was born in Madrid and is not Colombian or Latina. Jessica Chastain, who stars in The 355 and is one of its executive producers, defended the decision.prevnext
Reading this headline is like a car crash in slow-motion https://t.co/WIUAR48CbG— A S Hamrah (@hamrahrama) January 11, 2021
“When I had the idea of making this film, we didn’t have a script or financing,” Chastain told Variety. “Penelope was incredibly helpful in this regard. After conversations with our consultant, I brought her the idea that she could play a fervent agent from Brazil. She mentioned that it wouldn’t be right for her to play a character from Brazil, as the majority language is Portuguese.” Chastain went on to note that "approximately 80%" of Colombia's population has "European or mixed European heritage." She added, "We settled on a character who is a descendant from the colonization of Spain in the New World."prevnext
Casting Javier Bardem is NOT Latinx Representation nor is it casting a person of color.— Yolanda Machado (@SassyMamainLA) January 11, 2021
Ah yes, famed comedic actress Nicole Kidman and barrel of laughs Javier Bardem. https://t.co/ui474HqZSs— Alex Pawlowski (@AlexSourGraps) January 11, 2021
Pointing to a map of Spain and trying to explain that Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz, and Javier Bardem are not latinx
Hollywood: pic.twitter.com/SVlVCemY71— Beatrice Loayza (@bealoayza) January 11, 2021
HOW DO YOU HIRE A SPANIARD TO PLAY DESI ARNAZ LIKE CUBAN ACTORS EXIST. I HATE THIS— nerdy lover of the WS CHAMP🏆 bois™ (@nerdyDodger) January 11, 2021
Now, I don’t hate every single thing she’s done, but the last actress I’d think of to play the toughest woman in show biz this side of Merman is someone whose forte is looking afraid of her own shadow. https://t.co/UyYUzSFj1v— Alex aka Muscato (@CafeMuscato) January 11, 2021