Javier Bardem discusses what its like to work with Aaron Sorkin’s unique directing and writing style. The two recently worked together on the film Being the Ricardos, which was both written and directed by Sorkin. The film fictionalizes the story of Lucille Ball (played by Nicole Kidman) and Desi Arnaz (Bardem) as the success of their marriage and their hit TV show, I Love Lucy, are threatened when Ball is accused of being a communist. The film premiered on Amazon’s Prime Video in December of 2021 after a limited theatrical run.
Most audiences may be most familiar with Sorkin as a screenwriter. The filmmaker is famous for his very specific, quick, witty style of writing that is present in all his most famous works, such as his Oscar-winning script for The Social Network and his massively successful series The West Wing. However, Being the Ricardos marks Sorkin’s third foray into directing after making his debut back in 2017 with Molly’s Game. His second directorial effort, The Trial of the Chicago 7, released on Netflix in 2020.
Now, Bardem discusses what it was like to work with Sorkin as a director in Variety’s most recent edition of their “Actors on Actors” series, which also featured Daniel Craig. When Craig inevitably asks what it was like working with the writer-director, Bardem reveals he is a “one take, the most two takes” kind of director. The Spanish actor goes on to state that, due to this, making Being the Ricardos was “more like a theatre experience.” See his full quote below:
When you have rich text with so many layers on, you feel enriched, you feel gifted as an actor and you feel also cursed by it, because there’s no way to hide. First of all, he’s one take, the most two takes director. Its more like, more like a theatre experience itself. There’s not much rehearsal, if there’s any rehearsal at all, and then you just go there and shoot.
Bardem also mentions that, despite Sorkin’s trademark, fast-paced dialogue, his directing style puts a huge emphasis on pauses between lines. This is to allow an actor to “digest” what has just been spoken to them, so they may answer in a more genuine way. According to Bardem, this is due to the fact that Sorkin knows actors naturally want to say his dialogue at a fast pace, because that is what he is famous for. Bardem goes on to state that Sorkin did not want this, instead saying, “I want people to listen to each other.”
Despite Sorkin’s limited resume as a director, it is clear he knows what he wants when it comes to helming a project. Both his previous directorial works have been nominated for Oscars, and it seems Being the Ricardos may now be on the same track. The Prime Video release has already been nominated for several awards, including Screen Actors Guild nominations for both Kidman and Bardem. According to what Bardem has said, it’s not hard to believe that these impressive performances owe many thanks to Sorkin’s intricate directing style.
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