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Javier Bardem Reacts to Criticism Over His Casting as Desi Arnaz in 'Being the Ricardos'

Javier Bardem Reacts to Criticism Over His Casting as Desi Arnaz in 'Being the Ricardos'

Javier Bardem is defending his casting in Being the Ricardos.

During an interview with his co-star Nicole Kidman for The Hollywood Reporter, the 52-year-old actor says he didn’t quite realize how monumental it was to play Desi Arnaz and also defended being cast in the role despite not being Cuban.

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Javier revealed that he mainly knew Desi as a musician who worked with Spanish entertainer Xavier Cugat and said of I Love Lucy, “I wasn’t aware of how it big was.”

While there was a subtitled version of the show in Spain, the actor had never seen it. “When I really started digging into him, the deeper I got, the more I knew how iconic [the show] was … it was like, ‘S–t,’” he continued.

“S–t, what did we do?” Nicole added. “I got frightened.”

According to the story, both Javier and Nicole contacted their agents about getting them out of the film.

Producer Todd Black talked their agents out of letting them drop out, leading the pair to set up a Zoom meeting with director Aaron Sorkin and request that he push the movie for a year.

But due to the need for new content during the pandemic and the $40 million budget, that didn’t pan out.

When Aaron told Nicole and Javier that shooting would start in March as planned, the actress said, “It was like, ‘Oh, no. Oh, no. We actually have to do this.’”

Later in the interview, Javier addressed criticisms about him playing a Cuban person when he’s not Cuban.

“I’m an actor, and that’s what I do for a living: try to be people that I’m not,” he said. “What do we do with Marlon Brando playing Vito Corleone? What do we do with Margaret Thatcher played by Meryl Streep? Daniel Day-Lewis playing Lincoln? Why does this conversation happen with people with accents? You have your accent. That’s where you belong. That’s tricky.”

He continued, “Where is that conversation with English-speaking people doing things like The Last Duel, where they were supposed to be French people in the Middle Ages? That’s fine. But me, with my Spanish accent, being Cuban? What I mean is, if we want to open the can of worms, let’s open it for everyone. The role came to me, and one thing that I know for sure is that I’m going to give everything that I have.”

Aaron Sorkin
also recently defended the movie’s casting in a separate interview.

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Photos: Getty Images
Posted to: Being the Ricardos, Javier Bardem, Nicole Kidman

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