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Tony Hale, Alia Shawkat, Jake Lacy and Clark Gregg have joined Aaron Sorkin’s Being the Ricardos, the story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz now in production in Los Angeles.
Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem are starring respectively as Ball and Arnaz — the creatives and stars behind beloved series I Love Lucy — in Sorkin’s follow-up to Netflix’s Trial of the Chicago 7. Sorkin wrote the film, which is set during one production week of I Love Lucy, when Lucy and Desi face a crisis that could end their careers and another that could end their marriage.
Hale (Veep, Arrested Development) will play I Love Lucy executive producer and head writer Jess Oppenheimer, while Shawkat and Lacy will fill the roles as the show’s longtime writing partners, Madelyn Pugh and Bob Carroll Jr. Amazon Studios is behind the feature, which will be produced by Escape Artists’ Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch.
The film also co-stars J.K. Simmons and Nina Arianda as Lucy and Desi’s I Love Lucy co-stars William Frawley and Vivian Vance. Frawley played the Ricardos’ neighbor Fred Mertz on the iconic sitcom and Vance was Fred’s wife and Lucy’s best friend, Ethel Mertz.
“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,” executive producer Lucie Arnaz said in a statement.
Rounding out the cast are Gregg, Nelson Franklin, John Rubinstein, Linda Lavin, Robert Pine and Christopher Denham.
“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,” Sorkin added in his own statement.
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