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J.K. Simmons and Nina Arianda are in negotiations to join Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem in Aaron Sorkin’s drama centered on television icons Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz of I Love Lucy fame.
The project, titled Being the Ricardos, is set up as a feature at Amazon Studios. Kidman and Bardem are in negotiations to portray Ball and Arnaz, the first family of television that created and starred in the influential comedy that ran in the 1950s. Sorkin wrote the script and is directing.
In the show, real-life married couple Ball and Arnaz played married New York couple Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, a housewife and bandleader respectively. Their best friends are another couple, Ethel and Fred Mertz, who frequently find themselves ensnared in Lucy’s complex plans of joining her husband in show business.
In Sorkin’s drama, the story is set during one production week of I Love Lucy, wherein Ball and Arnaz face challenges on two fronts, one crisis that could end their careers and another that could end their marriage.
Simmons would play William Frawley, the actor who played Fred Mertz who later went to co-star in My Three Sons. Arianda would play Vivian Vance, who played Ethel Mertz. The Emmy-winning actress would go on to join Ball in her hit 1960s sitcom, The Lucy Show.
Escape Artists’ Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch are producing the project which is eyeing an April start in Los Angeles.
Jenna Block, David Bloomfield, Stuart Besser, Lucie Arnaz, Desi Arnaz Jr., and Lauren Lohman are exec producing.
Simmons, repped by Gersh, last year had a key role opposite Andy Samberg in the acclaimed Palm Springs and will be seen with Chris Pratt in Skydance’s big-budget sci-fi pic, The Tomorrow War.
Arianda won a Tony for her breakout performance in Venus in Fur and earned another nomination for Born Yesterday. She also played the love interest to Damien Lewis in Showtime’s Billions and co-starred opposite Billy Bob Thornton in Amazon drama, Goliath. She also appeared in Clint Eastwood’s 2019 drama, Richard Jewell. The actress is repped by ICM Partners and Schreck Rose.
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