‘I Love Lucy’ Movie: Fred and Ethel Mertz Casting Update Announced

by Evan Reier

We’re inching ever-closer to Meet the Ricardos, the upcoming film based on I Love Lucy stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

The latest development? Which actors might be casted alongside Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem.

The aforementioned pair will be playing Ball and Arnaz respectively. An article from Hollywood Reporter says there appear to be leads on who would play William Frawley and Vivian Vance.

While J.K. Simmons is in talks to play Frawley, the actor who portrayed Fred Mertz, Nina Arianda could be taking on the role of Vance, who portrayed Ethel Mertz.

For those not up to date, the Mertz’s were the landlords and close friends of the Ricardos on the show. Ethel and Lucy’s antics on I Love Lucy are timeless to this day. The duo often came together to plot and work together in many episodes.

According to the Reporter and other publications, the film is set to focus on more than just I Love Lucy. While the iconic television program will undoubtedly play a factor, the film is looking at Ball and Arnaz’s relationship.

Further, the report states the project is looking to start production in April. Based on the details we have so far, the sooner the better.

Aaron Sorkin Explains Why Movie Will Be Less I Love Lucy

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the film’s mastermind, Aaron Sorkin, explained that the movie will not be specific to I Love Lucy. Instead, what fascinates Sorkin is Lucille Ball the person, and the relationship she had with Desi Arnaz.

“They have a very complicated, fascinating relationship,” Sorkin said. “The movie takes place in one production week of I Love Lucy, [from] the Monday table read to Friday audience taping. There are flashbacks that show how the two of them got together and how I Love Lucy finally happened. But mostly it takes place during this week where, I don’t want to be coy, but a big event occurs that I think most people don’t know about when they think about Lucille Ball.”

Sorkin teasing the film has us all the more eager for it to come out. What specific event he is referring to is beyond our grasp, but considering how Ball and Arnaz’s relationship deteriorated, there could be several different possibilities.

Further, hearing Sorkin talk about Kidman as a match is exciting. The director-writer is obviously very enthused about having her play Ball.

“The number one thing that makes Nicole the right person for this part is she’s a world-class actress,” Sorkin says.

“She’s phenomenal. The role isn’t Lucy Ricardo. It’s Lucille Ball. There are moments throughout the film where we see little shards of I Love Lucy, and so she’ll be doing her best Lucy Ricardo there. But the meat of the role is not Lucy Ricardo.”

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