J.K. Simmons & Nina Arianda in talks for Sorkin’s Being the Ricardos
Just a month after entering talks with Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem for its central roles, Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming biographical drama Being the Ricardos is continuing to build its ensemble cast as J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) and Nina Arianda (Goliath) have begun negotiations to star in the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Penned by Sorkin, the film is set during a week of production on the iconic 1950s sitcom I Love Lucy, which began with table reads on Mondays and ended with audience filming on Fridays, and will focus on the real relationship between stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, namely as they face a crisis that could end their careers and another that could end their marriage. Sources previously reported that Sorkin originally did not intend to direct the project, only write, but after enjoying the directing experience on the Netflix-acquired historical drama elected to take the director’s chair this past summer.
Simmons is currently being eyed to portray William Frawley, the actor who starred as Fred Mertz on the iconic sitcom, while the Stan & Ollie actress is in talks to join as Emmy winner Vivian Vance, who starred as Ethel Mertz and would later join Ball in her ’60s sitcom The Lucy Show.
Sources also report that though all deals have yet to be closed, Kidman and Bardem became interested in the project following the release of The Trial of the Chicago 7 and that a production start date has yet to be set as the pandemic continues to prove to be a problem to productions across the country. The project was previously in development with Cate Blanchett set to star, though it’s unclear why the two-time Oscar winner dropped out.
The film is set to be produced by Escape Artists’ Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch, with Escape’s Jenna Block and David Bloomfield, Stuart Besser, Lucie Arnaz, Desi Arnaz Jr. and Lauren Lohman all attached to the project as executive producers.
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