Amy Poehler is making her documentary directorial debut with the upcoming film about the marriage and lives of actors and producers Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The working title of the doc is Lucy & Desi, and it will focus on both the personal and professional partnership between the incredible comedian and her husband. The film is being financed by Imagine Documentaries, in their most expensive documentary venture to date. The estate and family of Ball and Arnaz have agreed to participate in bringing the feature to life, so that will help to color in the details.
Ball was a groundbreaking comedian, actress, and producer, who paved the way for women in the entertainment business, and is an inspiration to women who have come since, including Poehler. Amy said of the project:
“I am so excited to work with Imagine Docs to help present the incredible life and work
of the brave and hilarious Lucille Ball, and her husband Desi.”
While we remember Ball and Arnaz for their beloved TV series, I Love Lucy, not many know the story from behind the scenes, or the background of the two actors.
Ball’s childhood was defined by financial and emotional hardship but she was determined to pursue a career in show business. She met future husband Desi Arnaz on the set of the 1940 musical, Too Many Girls and in 1951, they used their own money to produce and film the pilot for I Love Lucy, which was then bought by CBS.
During the height of I Love Lucy, two-thirds of the nation tuned in to watch Ball and her husband Arnaz every Monday night. The show was known not only known for its broadened view of what comedy could be, but also for tackling subjects many deemed too risqué for broadcast – the most prominent being the marriage of a multi-ethnic couple, and Ball’s real life pregnancy. Ball’s pregnancy became a story arc in the series, and when Ball went into labor on the show, which aired the same day she gave
birth in real life to her second child, Desi Jr, it drew 44 million viewers, 15 million more than President Eisenhower’s inaugural speech from earlier in the day.
It will be really interesting to get to know these people in real life. I love Lucille Ball, and I love Amy Poehler, and I can’t wait to see this documentary get made. Will you tune in?