Aaron Sorkin is one of the boldest figures in the entertainment industry. The mastermind behind critically acclaimed media such as The Social Network & The West Wing, the screenwriter is promoting his new upcoming project ‘Being The Ricardos.’
Sorkin talked to The Hollywood Reporter, and the topic inevitably ended up being his new project. While he talked about the movie in some details, the topic eventually shifted to the casting choices which made a lot of controversy last year. Sorkin said that his choices center around his writing, and not what people expect:
We made this movie during COVID, and so in Zooming with Nicole and Javier and everyone else, I’d make it very clear to them that I am not looking for a physical or vocal impersonation of these people. Leading up to the first rehearsal, I’d write to them every day, “Just play the characters who are in the script.” I know that Nicole was working on Lucy’s voice for a while, and I wanted to relieve her of that. As far as audience anticipation, that’s something I’m just not worried about.
Sorkin added that the audiences anticipate what they’ve known the Ricardos to be like. However, he’s not really concerned with that. He cited the case of The Social Network to be extremely viable in terms of subverting expectations. He added that while most expected a rom-com flick, a serious legal drama was what amazed them instead.
I’m certain that when people see the movie, they’ll leave feeling that Nicole has made a very solid case for herself, but moreover, I’ve found that you can really leverage low expectations. I learned that with The Social Network. People assumed it was going to be a romantic comedy, where, like, Paul Rudd “friends” Drew Barrymore and they fall in love. And I just thought, “Great, they’re not expecting what they’re about to see.
The controversy surrounding Sorkin’s casting choices were not centered around Nicole Kidman to the extent they were around Javier Bardem. While Desi Arnaz was Cuban, Bardem is a Spanish actor. Sorkin explained that by choosing a Spanish actor, they were not demeaning Arnaz in any way.
First of all, Amazon’s casting department had a Latina casting consultant [who was focused on all Latinx casting] on board. I found out, for instance, because there was an actor who I was considering who’s Brazilian, and I was told by the casting consultant that Brazilians aren’t considered [Hispanic] because they speak Portuguese. So, Javier is Spanish and the casting consultant was fine with it. But I don’t want to use the casting consultant as cover. I want to tell you my opinion on this and I stand by it, which is this: Spanish and Cuban aren’t actable, OK? They’re not actable. By the way, neither are straight and gay. Because I know there’s a small movement underway that only gay actors should play gay characters. Gay and straight aren’t actable. You could act being attracted to someone, but most nouns aren’t actable.
Aaron Sorkin has made the case that even if you choose an actor of another ethnicity to fill someone’s shoes, it’s about whether they can act in a way to fulfill the role. Even though some might disagree with the Oscar-winning screenwriter, Ball and Arnaz’s daughter has already given her blessings on the castings.
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