‘Being the Ricardos’ Star Javier Bardem Responds to Critics Over Being Cast as Desi Arnaz

by Maria Hartfield

Spanish actor Javier Bardem is starring as Desi Arnaz in a new film Being the Ricardos, and not everyone is happy about it.

The 52-year-old plays Cuban-American TV star Arnaz opposite Lucille Ball played by Nicole Kidman. The duo will portray the iconic I Love Lucy couple in the new film.

Javier and Nicole opened up in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter about their roles in the new film. Additionally, Bardem responds to some criticisms about him playing the Cuban-American actor.

“I’m an actor, and that’s what I do for a living: try to be people that I’m not,” Bardem began. “What do we do with Marlon Brando playing Vito Corleone [in The Godfather]? What do we do with Margaret Thatcher played by Meryl Streep [in The Iron Lady]? Daniel Day-Lewis playing Lincoln [in Lincoln]? Why does this conversation happen with people with accents? ‘You have your accent. That’s where you belong.’ That’s tricky.”

This is in response to Javier’s casting as Desi Arnaz in the new film Being the Ricardos.

“Where is that conversation with English-speaking people doing things like The Last Duel, where they were supposed to be French people in the Middle Ages? That’s fine,” he continued. “But me, with my Spanish accent, being Cuban? What I mean is, if we want to open the can of worms, let’s open it for everyone. … We should all start not allowing anybody to play Hamlet unless they were born in Denmark.”

After being offered the part, Barden said he knew “for sure”. And that he was “going to give it everything that I have.”

Javier Bardem Responds to Criticism

A day after the initial interview with The Hollywood Reporter, a rep for Bardem emailed the magazine some additional thoughts Javier had on the matter.

“I do recognize that there are many underrepresented voices and stories that need to be told,” he said. “And we should collectively do better to provide access and opportunities for more American Latino stories and storytellers.”

In the same vein, Nicole Kidman also received criticism for being cast as Lucille Ball in the upcoming film. She confessed on Live with Kelly and Ryan that she sometimes had doubts of her ability to portray the iconic comedian.

“I went, ‘What have I said yes to?’ — to which I then went, ‘Oh no, I’m not right. Everyone thinks I’m not right so I’m going to try to sidestep this,’ ” she said. “And the producer Todd Black and [writer/director] Aaron Sorkin were both like, ‘Absolutely not.’ I was in Australia and they were like, ‘No.’ And thank God, because then I was so grateful because I got to fall in love with her.”

Catch Being the Ricards now in select theaters and streaming December 21 on Amazon Prime Video.