Lucille Ball biopic

Cate Blanchett is attached to star in a Lucille Ball biopic, and that’s pretty interesting. It’s the sort of thing that could be easy Oscar bait, sure, but Blanchett could also deliver a performance that would elevate the film to something much more powerful. The project is being produced by Ball’s children. Perhaps most interesting, however, is the writer who is set up to script: Aaron Sorkin.

The Wrap says that the film will cover the 20-year marriage of Ball and Desi Arnaz, and presumably also their TV show I Love Lucy.

The couple was married in 1940, and created the series in 1951. I Love Lucy ran until 1957, and was succeeded by a modified version of the show that ran as a series of specials through 1960. That same year, Ball and Arnaz were divorced, and that may more or less mark the end of the script, too.

Ball and Arnaz’s children Lucy Arnaz Jr. and Desi Arnaz Jr. will produce with Sony-based Escape Artists.

Aaron Sorkin does a lot of things really well, with true stories well up at the top of the list of his accomplishments, and behind the scenes stories being right in his wheelhouse. He’s a great writer to have tackled The Social Network and Moneyball, and he seems like a great choice to write the story of someone like, say, Steve Jobs.

Then there’s writing about comedy, which isn’t always his forte. Comedy writers savaged Sorkin’s work on the SNL-inspired series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, which helped create a perception of Sorkin as someone who doesn’t really get the mindset of comedians. (Writing about comedy is different from writing shows that are funny; see Sports Night.)

Couple that with often-levied criticisms of Sokin’s handling of female characters, and the idea of him writing a Lucille Ball film — a movie dedicated to the story of one of the best-loved and most accomplished women on television — is striking. But some of that is just the “conventional wisdom” that has evolved about Sorkin thanks in part to The Newsroom, when a series like The West Wing or, again, Sports Night shows just how well he can write for women.

So this film shows up on our doorstep as something intriguing, and potentially fascinating. This would be a challenging project for anyone, and so it’s no different for Sorkin. Perhaps he will craft a part for Cate Blanchett that is up to the “degree of difficulty” he talked about in an infamous email about Best Actress nominees, and maybe he’ll be able to tackle some of his own creative difficulties head-on as well.

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