“Being the Ricardos,” an upcoming movie about the relationship between “I Love Lucy” stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, has added several names to the call sheet.
Ahead of the start of production in Los Angeles this week, Tony Hale, Alia Shawkat and Jake Lacy have joined the cast of the Amazon Studios film.
As previously announced, Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem will portray Ball and Arnaz. Meanwhile, J.K. Simmons and Nina Arianda are playing their “I Love Lucy” co-stars William Frawley and Vivian Vance.
Hale will play the sitcom’s executive producer and head writer Jess Oppenheimer, while Shawkat and Lacy will embody the show’s longtime writing partners Madelyn Pugh and 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”) also have supporting roles.
Directed by Aaron Sorkin, the story 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 ruin their marriage. The classic 1950s sitcom focused on the happily married odd couple, though their real-life relationship was infamously more complex and tumultuous than the fictional characters they portray.
“‘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,” said Sorkin, who also wrote the screenplay.
Desi Arnaz’s brother Lucie Arnaz is executive producing the film.
“My brother Desi and I signed on because this is a story of our folks’ real-life, passionate, tempestuous and complicated relationship and not a recreation of ‘I Love Lucy’ — no one could do that,” Lucie Arnaz said. “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.”
Along with Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr., executive producers on the film include Jenna Block, David Bloomfield of Escape Artists, Stuart Besser and Lauren Lohman. Escape Artists’ Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch will serve as producers.
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