Javier Bardem Pays Tribute to Desi Arnaz Ahead of Lucille Ball Biopic ‘Being the Ricardos’ Premiere

by Allison Hambrick
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In a video shared by AP Entertainment, Javier Bardem saluted iconic actor Desi Arnaz ahead of portraying him in the upcoming film, Being the Ricardos.

“Playing him is really playing a person who set a precedent for changes that will be forever in the way that we understand TV, sitcoms,” said Bardem in the video. “The way that all of those sitcoms are made today, with three cameras, with an audience on set. I mean, he thought about all of those things, but at the same time, he was a great comedian, a great artist, a great musician.”

Check out the video below.

“Most important, he was a man who was madly in love with his wife,” Bardem continued. “He wanted to protect her the way he knew he could.”

Also starring Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos is directed by Aaron Sorkin and produced by Todd Black. The film follows Desi Arnaz and wife Lucille Ball during the week in which she was accused of being a communist.

“Aaron and I did not want to have imitations,” Black said. “You’re never going to duplicate Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. It’s never going to happen. They were one of a kind, that’s it.”

Even so, casting actors who captured the “essence” of the actors was essential to Black. His goal was to depict “the machinations of their relationship and their marriage, and their professional relationship on I Love Lucy.

Being the Ricardos Has Lucie Arnaz’s Approval

Though Black wanted to make Being the Ricardos as far back as 1995, the couple’s daughter was resistant. Eventually, through a “trust-building process,” Lucie Arnaz agreed to the film. She hoped to show the “real and raw” history of her parents.

“It’s the story of Lucille Ball, my actual mother, not Lucy Ricardo and her husband Desi Arnaz, my dad, not Ricky Ricardo,” Arnaz explained. Because of this, she championed the actors playing her parents.

While Bardem received less criticism, Kidman’s casting was poorly received. Arnaz, however, approved of the actress. She appreciated the willingness of both Kidman and Bardem to “show [her parents] with their flaws.”

“Here’s the deal, what you should understand: We are not doing a remake of I Love Lucy,” said Arnaz. “No one has to impersonate Lucy Ricardo nor do the Vitameatavegamin routine or … any of the silly things.'”

While some inaccuracies gave her pause, Arnaz ultimately approved of Being the Ricardos, calling it “freaking amazing.”

“What can I tell you? [Sorkin] captured the essence of that time in their lives so well,” Arnaz stated on her Instagram. “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.”

Being the Ricardos hits in theaters on Dec. 10. It will be available to stream on Amazon Prime beginning on Dec. 21.