It’s hard to think of an actress more perfect to play Lucille Ball than Cate Blanchett. But Aaron Sorkin as the screenwriter? Eh, not so much.
Critics contest that Sorkin, while talented, has a serious woman problem and has no business penning a film about the comedy icon. A scathing commentary from Time last year slammed the screenwriter for “celebrat[ing] the male mind while making women the objects of lust or scorn. The few women who do make it into Sorkin’s scripts are usually in need of rescue by the men in their lives,” E! Online reported.
Ouch. Though if Blanchett is tied to the film, perhaps the actress — not known for being a wilting flower, by any means — will get some input when it comes to portraying Lucille Ball in the film.
Firstly, there are plenty of things to celebrate about the project. It has the blessing of Lucille’s kids, Lucie and Desi Jr., and they’re acting as producers on the film with Escape Artists. The movie will cover Ball and Cuban bandleader Arnaz’s 20-year marriage, whose comedic union created the most iconic sitcom in TV history — I Love Lucy, the Guardian reported.
Ball also became one of the industry’s first female TV executives. She founded Desilu, which went on to produce the first Mission: Impossible and the Star Trek series. Lucille was a force to be reckoned with and a talented comedian, with 13 Emmy nods and four wins to her credit, plus a Cecil B. DeMille Award, the Hollywood Reporter added.
And therein lies the problem — strong women aren’t Aaron Sorkin’s specialty. And Sorkin doesn’t seem to respect female actresses too much, either. In that revealing Sony hack last year, he disparaged Blanchett’s performance in Blue Jasmine (which won an Oscar, by the way) as “requiring nothing close to the degree of difficulty” that the Best Actor winner achieved.
But Aaron Sorkin doesn’t just have it out for Cate. Evidently, Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook was unwarranted because “she did what a professional actress is supposed to be able to do”; Julia Roberts’ Erin Brockovich win was earned just because she was “being brassy”; and apparently, Sandra Bullock didn’t deserve her statue for The Blind Side. Only Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren can “play with the boys.”
And “the boys” is what he does best. Aaron Sorkin’s notable projects focus on men: Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, Billy Beane in Moneyball, Charlie Wilson in Charlie Wilson’s War, and Steve Jobs the upcoming Steve Jobs.
Aaron Sorkin hasn’t been confirmed to pen the script for the Lucille Ball biopic (though Escape Artists really want him) so there’s hope someone with a better track record with females could step up to the plate. As for Cate, it appears she’s game, her reps said.
“It’s a project that is dear to [Cate’s] heart and a great story to tell.”
[Photo Courtesy David McNew, Angela Weiss/Getty Images]