Aaron Sorkin calls out ‘heartbreaking and chilling’ response to his Being the Ricardos casting choice

Director defended himself over casting Spanish star Javier Bardem as Cuban character

Ellie Harrison
Monday 20 December 2021 14:40 GMT
Being The Ricardos

Aaron Sorkin has said the reaction to his casting of Javier Bardem as a Cuban character in his new film Being the Ricardos is “chilling”.

Some have criticised Sorkin for choosing Bardem to play Desi Arnaz (the husband of actor Lucille Ball), seeing as the actor is Spanish, not Cuban.

“It’s heartbreaking and a little chilling to see members of the artistic community resegregating ourselves,” Sorkin told The Sunday Times Magazine.

“This should be the last place there are walls. Spanish and Cuban are not actable. If I was directing you in a scene and said: ‘It’s cold, you can’t feel your face.’ That’s actable. But if I said: ‘Be Cuban.’ That is not actable. Nouns aren’t actable.”

He continued: “Gay and straight aren’t actable. You can act being attracted to someone, but can’t act gay or straight.

“So this notion that only gay actors should play gay characters? That only a Cuban actor should play Desi? Honestly, I think it’s the mother of all empty gestures and a bad idea.”

Bardem also recently defended his casting. He said: “I’m an actor, and that’s what I do for a living: try to be people that I’m not.”

Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem in ‘Being the Ricardos’ (© Amazon Content Services LLC)

Starring Nicole Kidman and Bardem as on-screen and off-screen couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Being the Ricardos chronicles the tumultuous relationship of the stars of hit fifties sitcom I Love Lucy.

It follows the couple during one week of filming I Love Lucy – from a Monday table read to a Friday shoot – while they navigate crises and challenges that threaten their relationship and careers.

Read The Independent’s three-star review of the film here.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in