‘Being The Ricardos’ Director Aaron Sorkin Says Lucie Arnaz Told Him to ‘Take the Gloves Off’

by Josh Lanier
(Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Deadline)

Aaron Sorkin said the daughter of Lucille Ball told him to not pull any punches in the biopic about her parents. Lucie Arnaz asked Sorkin to “take the gloves off” for Being the Ricardos.

The writer-director invited Arnaz to lunch when he was thinking about doing the movie. He wanted to get her approval for how he saw Being the Ricardos, he told The Hollywood Reporter. She was completely on board.

“We all had lunch together, and she said to me, ‘I know my mother wasn’t an easy woman,'” Sorkin told THR. “‘Take the gloves off.’ In other words, you can go for it.”

Sorkin said he probably would have walked away from Being the Ricardos if she had been against his ideas.

Though, the Social Network scribe said he initially didn’t want to do a movie on Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. He wasn’t sure if there was a compelling enough story. But once he started researching them, he saw how much he had to work with. Congress grilled Lucille Ball for her alleged ties to the Communist Party. Desi Arnaz frequently cheated on Ball, which complicated their marriage and public image. And this all happened when she was the biggest comedienne in the world.

“There were just all of these interesting conflicts, and that’s what I’m looking for,” Sorkin said. “Points of friction that add up to something that you can write about.”

Though, these events took place years apart. So, Sorkin admits that he had to fudge the timeline to make them fit into his story. Being the Ricardos takes place all within five days. It opens with a table read for an episode of I Love Lucy on a Monday and ends on Friday when they film it.

Lucie Arnaz Says ‘Being the Ricardos’ is ‘Freaking Amazing’

Lucie Arnaz said in an August interview that she fought with Aaron Sorkin to take out scenes of Being the Ricardos because they aren’t true, but he refused. Sorkin said he understands her hesitation. He’d probably be upset if someone tried to make a movie about his parents, too. Though, he hoped she understood his intentions once she saw the film.

She did. Lucie Arnaz gave a full-throated endorsement of Being the Ricardos last month.

“It’s freaking amazing,” she said in an Instagram video. “(Sorkin) made a great movie. What can I tell you? He captured the essence of that time in their lives so well. He captured the love between those players in the I Love Lucy show. The tension that was brought on in this particular week when all hell broke loose. And Nicole Kidman became my mother’s soul. She crawled into her head. I don’t know how you do that.”

Amazon will release Being the Ricardos into theaters on Dec. 10. The movie will stream on Prime beginning on Dec. 21.