Playing an iconic Hollywood figure is never easy. In a recent interview, Being the Ricardos actor Javier Bardem discussed the pressure from I love Lucy and Lucille Ball fans when playing Desi Arnaz. Desi Arnaz was Lucille Ball’s husband and co-star and co-producer.
The two owned a production company together before their divorce in 1960. Their work on I Love Lucy created the sitcom as we know it. So playing either of them is intimidating.
Arnaz played Ricky Ricardo, but the movie, Starring Javier Bardem and Nicole Kidman, focused not on Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, but the actors behind the scenes. Fans were skeptical of both Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem in these roles.
The stress definitely got to Nicole Kidman, who got the majority of the criticism. There was even a point where she considered dropping out of the film. But she stuck through it, and with the help of Bardem, they both thrived in the film.
Bardem noted that he had to try to block out that stress to play the role.
“Absolutely,” Bardem told Deadline when asked if he felt any pressure. “But at the same time, knowing a bit of Nicole’s process, we agreed that there wasn’t too much time for us to spend thinking, doubting, and being insecure.”
Bardem Didn’t Have Time to Think of the Pressure While Filming ‘Being the Ricardos’
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, they had to film quickly. This helped them manage that stress.
“From the moment they cast me to the moment we began shooting, was not a long time to my surprise because of Covid and shooting was taking place in LA. I didn’t think they’d be able to put it all together so fast but they did. With such a quick turnaround [and all my existing responsibilities], there was no time for doubt,” he explained. If anything, this just helped him focus on the role.
“I was all in and that meant a 24/7 focus on this — I was sleeping five or six hours at most. Of course, I was aware of who this iconic couple was, but I didn’t focus on that. It was too much. Focusing on that would’ve been a heavy weight on my shoulders that would’ve sunk me into an ocean of fear, doubt, and insecurity. Instead, I leaned into what I needed the most: faith and a strong will,” he continued.
And it looks like it worked. Both Bardem and Kidman have been praised for their performances in Being the Ricardos. The film was released on December 10th and overall has faced some mixed reviews with solid reviews for both of the performances.
You can now catch Being the Ricardos on Amazon Prime.