While Aaron Sorkin is currently in the middle of an Oscar campaign for his second directorial feature The Trial of the Chicago 7, cameras are already rolling on his third movie as a director. Amazon Studios announced today that filming has begun on Being the Ricardos, an account of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s relationship starring Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem in the lead roles, respectively. In addition to announcing the start of filming, Amazon has also revealed additional casting news and a stellar crew for the feature.
Being the Ricardos takes place 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.
As previously announced, J.K. Simmons and Nina Arianda are playing Lucy and Desi’s I Love Lucy co-stars William Frawley and Viivan Vance, and joining the cast are Tony Hale as I Love Lucy executive producer and head writer Jess Oppenheimer and Alia Shawkat and Jake Lacy as the show’s longtime writing partners Madelyn Pugh and Bob Carroll Jr. The ensemble will be rounded out by Clarke Gregg, Nelson Franklin, John Rubinstein, Linda Lavin, Robert Pine, and Christopher Denham.
Additionally, Sorkin will be working with David Fincher’s longtime cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth on the film, reuniting after Cronenweth shot Sorkin’s Oscar-winning script for The Social Network. The crew also includes production designer Jon Hutman (Unbroken, It’s Complicated), costume designer Susan Lyall (The Trial of the Chicago 7, Molly’s Game), set decorator Ellen Brill (Bombshell, American Horror Story) three-time Oscar® nominated sound mixer Steven Morrow (Ford v Ferrari, A Star is Born, La La Land), and two-time Oscar nominated editor Alan Baumgarten (The Trial of the Chicago 7, American Hustle).
Sorkin wrote the script and is directing Being the Ricardos, after previously having written the screenplay for another director to helm. In that version, Cate Blanchett was attached to play Lucille Ball, but scheduling conflicts forced her to drop out.
“Being the Ricardos is a drama about the people behind the making of television’s most famous comedy. I’m looking forward to working with Nicole, Javier, J.K., Nina and the rest of our great cast,” says writer-director Aaron Sorkin.
Executive producer Lucie Arnaz says, “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. 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.”
Amazon Studios has not set a release date just yet, but it’s possible the film could be ready in time for an awards season release later this year.