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Javier Bardem Defends Playing Cuban-Born Ricky Ricardo In Being The Ricardos: ‘I’m An Actor; That’s What I Do’
Javier Bardem
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Hollywood has become obsessed with casting roles according to the character, never allowing people of different nationalities to pretend they’re someone else. This is all done in the name of representation, but at least one actor is saying the rule has gone too far.

Academy Award winner Javier Bardem was cast in the much-hyped film “Being the Ricardos” to play the male lead, Desi Arnaz. Casting in general was a source of controversy as Nicole Kidman faced backlash for playing Lucille Ball in the film, but the main issue audiences had with Bardem was that he is Spanish, not Cuban like the real Arnaz.

Bardem addressed the controversy in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter. The “No Country for Old Men” star said actors are paid to pretend and that should include being cast as someone of a different nationality. He also claimed that the criticism was because of his accent.

“What do we do with Marlon Brando playing Vito Corleone? What do we do with Margaret Thatcher played by Meryl Streep? Daniel Day-Lewis playing Lincoln? Why does this conversation happen with people with accents?” the 52-year-old actor said in the interview.

“You have your accent. That’s where you belong. That’s tricky. Where is that conversation with English-speaking people doing things like ‘The Last Duel,’ where they were supposed to be French people in the Middle Ages? That’s fine. But me, with my Spanish accent, being Cuban?’”

He continued: “What I mean is, if we want to open the can of worms, let’s open it for everyone. The role came to me, and one thing that I know for sure is that I’m going to give everything that I have.”

Later, he made a joke about the whole situation. Bardem said, “We should all start not allowing anybody to play Hamlet unless they were born in Denmark.”

These statements were bound to cause a stir, so the actor followed up with an email.

“I do recognize that there are many underrepresented voices and stories that need to be told, and we should collectively do better to provide access and opportunities for more American Latino stories and storytellers,” Bardem said. 

This controversy wasn’t the first when it came to Bardem and Kidman being cast as the stars of iconic sitcom “I Love Lucy.” Apparently, backlash got so bad that both actors tried to back out of playing Arnaz and Ball. But the couple’s real-life daughter, Lucie, defended the casting decision, saying the actors were hired to portray her real parents, not the characters they played on TV.

When fans started clamoring for “Will and Grace” alum Debra Messing to get the part, Lucie shut down the conversation. Lucie posted a Facebook video urging fans to, “Stop arguing about who should play it – [Messing] doesn’t look like her, her nose isn’t the same, she isn’t as funny,” Arnaz said in a Facebook video, according to Daily Mail.

She went on to clarify that, “the story [is] of Lucille Ball, my actual mother, not Lucy Ricardo, and her husband Desi Arnaz, my dad, not Ricky Ricardo.”

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