Aaron Sorkin’s I Love Lucy Movie May Cast JK Simmons

J.K. Simmons may join the cast of the Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz biopic Being the Ricardos. The film is written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, the inimitable screenwriter behind The Social Network and The Trial of the Chicago 7, the latter of which he also directed and is primed to receive multiple Oscar nods this year. Being the Ricardos is a drama centered around television icons Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, who are known for portraying Lucy and Ricky Ricardo in the influential, groundbreaking television sitcom I Love Lucy.

Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem were already in talks to portray Lucille and Desi, who were also married in real life. The duo, often considered the “first family of American television,” created and starred in the revolutionary comedy that ran from 1951 to 1957. The sitcom followed the daily lives of the New York couple Lucy, a housewife, and Ricky, a bandleader. Their best friends were Ethel and Fred Mertz, a couple who often found themselves caught up in Lucy’s elaborate attempts to break into show business. Sorkin wrote the script for Being the Ricardos based on one week in Ball and Arnaz’s life and will be directing the film for Amazon Studios.

According to THR, J.K. Simmons is in talks to join the cast of Being the Ricardos in the role of William Frawley, the actor who played Fred Mertz on I Love Lucy. With Nina Arianda likely joining the cast in the role of Vivian Vance, the actress who portrayed Ethel Mertz, the two would make up the couple who were the Ricardos’ best friends and landlords.

Sorkin reportedly sets the story during one week of production for an episode of I Love Lucy, from the table read on Monday to shooting in front of a live studio audience on Friday. Over the course of this week, Ball and Arnaz will face crises capable of ending their careers and their marriage. Sorkin has a knack for writing untraditional biopics that are not “cradle to grave” stories, with 2015’s Steve Jobs acting as a prime example since it takes place over the course of three different Apple keynote events. Being the Ricardos seems to follow suit since it is set over a limited period of time.

While some have questioned Kidman’s casting as Ball since she does not usually play comedic roles, Sorkin has a long history of elevating actors with his signature snappy dialogue. Ball and Arnaz are American icons and no screenwriter has a better track record than Sorkin of successfully tackling films focused on American icons, such as Zuckerberg and Jobs. But what made these films successful is that they were not glowing, but true to life portrayals of conflicted characters, so expect Being the Ricardos to be no different.

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