Saturday, June 15, 2024

Cate Blanchett to Play Lucy, But Who Should Play Ricky, Ethel, Fred and Mrs. Trumbull?


Cate Blanchett is going to play Lucille Ball in a feature film written for the screen by Aaron Sorkin. (Maybe with help from Paul Rudnick.) Jeff Sneider broke the story and everyone’s picked it up. No director has been named yet.

In the past, Lucy’s been portrayed on TV beautifully by Frances Fisher. A lot of people thought Debra Messing would get the job one day– including Lucy’s daughter Lucie Arnaz, who wanted her. Australian two time Oscar winner Blanchett can do anything, so this should be good– she will really get the pre-“I Love Lucy” Lucy who was a wise cracking ingenue in movies before becoming the First Lady of TV.

But who should play Ricky, Ethel, and Fred — Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley? Not to mention Mrs. Trumbull?

I always thought Andy Garcia should play Desi, but he may be too old now. (Andy is actually 59. Time flies! He looks like he’s 35.) Whoever plays Desi had better be a damn good singer and musician. Bruno Mars is too young and too short. And the actor should really be Latino.

As for Fred and Ethel– Melissa McCarthy and Zack Galifinakis come to mind. Don’t take either Vance or Frawley for granted. They were geniuses.

Lucie Arnaz and her brother Desi Arnaz Jr. are producing, and they will be characters, too. As for Mrs. Trumbull, Caroline Appleby, and Betty Ramsey– I hope we see the minor players too. “I Love Lucy” is the template for all TV comedy right up through now. Those five writers– Bob Carroll Jr., Madelyn Davis, Jess Oppenheimer, Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf– really deserve some special group award.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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