Hollywood seems to have found its new Lucy and Ricky Ricardo and Latino Twitter is not very happy.
Although it’s not a done deal yet, Variety is reporting that Oscar winners Nicole Kidman (The Hours) and Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men) are in negotiations to play the legendary screen couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in the upcoming film Being the Ricardos.
The problem for many Latinos is that Arnaz was Cuban, while Bardem was born in the Canary Islands, Spain, and is not Latino.
Director and Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) is behind Being the Ricardos, which will be set during the production of I Love Lucy, the TV sitcom that starred real-life married couple Ball and Arnaz as the fictional Ricardos for six seasons in the 1950s.
When news broke Monday afternoon (Jan. 11) that Bardem was in talks to portray the iconic Cuban American actor, people on social media wondered why they were casting a European actor in a Latino role.
While some people hoped the part would go to a Cuban actor like Raúl Esparza (TV’s Hannibal), others would have been good with an actor with any Latino background.
Even One Day at a Time co-creator Gloria Calderón Kellett chimed in and said she would’ve loved to have gotten a shot to direct or write the script. She added that Cuban actor Danny Pino (TV’s Mayans M.C.) would’ve been her choice for Arnaz.
This, of course, is just one of many times non-Latino actors have been cast in Latino roles. In recent years, Oscar-winning Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago) was criticized for playing a Colombian drug lord in the 2017 TV movie Cocaine Godmother. Spanish actor Óscar Jaenada (The Losers) played Cantinflas in the 2014 biopic about the Mexican comedy icon. And don’t even get us started on the non-Latino actors who played Chilean miners and family members in the 2015 drama The 33.
A 2016 Vanity Fair article asks, “Have we finally reached a breaking point on Hollywood whitewashing?” Apparently not. We guess we should at least be grateful we’re not going to see Charlie Hunnam playing the congas.