With another Oscar nomination under his belt for The Trial of the Chicago 7, writer/director Aaron Sorkin is setting his eyes on another real-world scenario for his next film: the lives of 1950s sitcom royalty Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Being the Ricardos stars the unexpected pairing of Nicole Kidman as Lucy and Javier Bardem as Desi, the boundary-pushing pioneers and I Love Lucy stars, and now Sorkin has added a few additional names to his cast.
Tony Hale (Veep), Alia Shawkat (Search Party), and Jake Lacy (The Office) are the newest actors to sign on, and they’ll join Kidman, Bardem, J.K. Simmons (Zack Snyder’s Justice League), and Nina Arianda (Goliath). Sorkin officially began production on the film today.
Being the Ricardos “is set during one production week of I Love Lucy—Monday table read through Friday audience filming—when Lucy and Desi face a crisis that could end their careers and another that could end their marriage.” Kidman and Bardem play Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, who portrayed sitcom couple Lucy and Ricky Ricardo but who had a famously tumultuous and complicated relationship off-screen. Simmons and Arianda will play William Frawley and Vivian Vance, the actors who portrayed Lucy and Desi’s neighbors, Fred and Ethel Mertz, on the show. Tony Hale will play I Love Lucy executive producer and head writer Jess Oppenheimer, while Shawkat and Lacy will co-star as the show’s longtime writing partners, Madelyn Pugh & Bob Carroll Jr.
Clark Gregg (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Nelson Franklin (Veep), John Rubinstein (Family), Linda Lavin (Alice, The Good Wife), Robert Pine (CHiPs), and Christopher Denham (Billions) are also on board in undisclosed roles. Sorkin wrote the screenplay and is directing for the third time, following his work on Molly’s Game and The Trial of the Chicago 7.
“My brother Desi and I signed on because this is a story of our folk’s real-life passionate, tempestuous and complicated relationship and not a recreation of I Love Lucy – no one could do that,” executive producer Lucie Arnaz said in a statement. “We felt exploring that relationship could be an enlightening challenge. We asked Amazon for the best and we got it with every hire. Aaron Sorkin has not told this tale as a ‘cradle to grave’ biopic. Instead, he’s chosen to illuminate a snippet of time during an incredibly intense period of their show’s enduring success. The casting choices have all been inspired and Desi and I are so looking forward to seeing what this impressive group of actors make of Sorkin’s delicious script.”
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