Amazon has reportedly purchased the rights to an authorized Lucille Ball biopic that will star Australian actress Cate Blanchett as the legendary red-headed comedienne. The biopic will be written by rapid-fire screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and will be produced by Ball’s children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr..
The film will focus on Ball’s 20-year marriage to Desi Arnaz and the creation of the couple’s sitcom, I Love Lucy, which ran for six seasons from 1951 to 1957.
Spanish actor Javier Bardem is said to be under consideration to play Ball’s husband, though it remains to be seen whether he actually will.
The film will likely have lots of drama as Ball’s marriage to Arnaz was legendarily rocky. Associates of the couple say that Arnaz was a regular drinker and womanizer and that Ball herself became dictatorial on the set of her show, the two sometimes clashing violently at home and elsewhere.
Despite their rocky marriage, I Love Lucy found critical acclaim in its day and had some of the highest ratings of any TV show in history. The show was the first to ever feature an interracial couple — Ball’s sitcom husband, Ricky Ricardo, who was played by her real-life Cuban spouse — and was also the first to use a three-camera setup which later became standard for many subsequent sitcoms.
I Love Lucy still reaches an estimated 40 million American viewers every year with syndication in dozens of languages across the globe.
Blanchett is an award-winning actress who has played in several queer-tinged movies including gay director Todd Haynes’ 2015 lesbian drama Carol, the quasi-lesbian 2006 psychodrama Notes on a Scandal and the 1999 homoerotic thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley. She has also famously played the role of mystical elf-queen Lady Galadriel in Peter Jackson’s film adaptations of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings book series.