Sorkin has defended his casting choices (Picture: Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)
Aaron Sorkin has defended casting Javier Bardem as Cuban actor Desi Arnaz in Being The Ricardos, saying ‘Spanish and Cuban aren’t actable’.
Arnaz, best known for playing Ricky Ricardo on the legendary sitcom, was born in Cuba and fled with his family to Miami following the Cuban Revolution, while Bardem is from Gran Canaria in Spain.
There was some criticism of the casting due to Bardem not being Cuban; however, Sorkin has defended his casting, saying that Amazon’s casting department had a Latina casting consultant.
The screenwriter and director claimed Bardem was chosen after the casting consultant told him that Brazilian actor wouldn’t be considered Hispanic.
Sorkin, 60, told The Hollywood Reporter: ‘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.’
Sorking went on to say that while he knows blackface is demeaning because ‘you’re making ridiculous cartoon caricatures out of people’, casting a Spanish person as a Cuban is ‘not demeaning’.
The West Wing creator said: ‘We know that Mickey Rooney with the silly piece in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and that makeup, doing silly Japanese speak, we know that’s demeaning. This is not, I felt.
‘Having an actor who was born in Spain playing a character who was born in Cuba was not demeaning.’
Javier Bardem and Nicole Kidman will play I Love Lucy legends Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz (Picture: Archive Photos/Getty Images)
The movie is out next month (Picture: Amazon Prime)
As well as the casting consultant reportedly agreeing, Sorkin said that Arnaz and Ball’s daughter Lucie, who gave her blessing to the movie, had no issue with the casting. And it wasn’t just the casting consultant who agreed, Lucy and Desi’s Cuban American daughter didn’t have a problem with it. So, I’m very comfortable with it.’
Sorkin’s comments have attracted criticism on social media, with writer Hanna Flint tweeting: ‘There is so much that is off about Aaron Sorkin’s statement on casting but saying playing Spanish or Cuban or gay isn’t actable is exactly the point of casting people with that innate experience. They don’t have to act it, they are it.’
Sorkin has also had to defend casting Nicole Kidman in the role of Lucille Ball, saying he didn’t want an ‘impersonation’.
Many fans have suggested Will & Grace star Debra Messing should have been cast as Ball, as the actress bears a striking resemblance to the Lucy Ricardo star.
Being The Ricardos follows the lives of Lucille and Desi during a week of filming for I Love Lucy, with Ball accused of being a Communist off set.
Being The Ricardos is set to premiere on Prime Video on December 21.
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