For I Love Lucy fans — and those of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz — there’s some great news coming from Ron Howard‘s Imagine Entertainment. Amy Poehler, of Saturday Night Live and Parks and Recreation, is actually going to be making her directorial debut on Lucy & Desi, which is being described as the “definitive film documentary” about the couple. It will look at the early days of their respective careers, their rise to the top, the creation of Desilu studios and their breaking up while always remaining a part of each other’s lives.
As daughter Lucie Arnaz explained to us in an exclusive interview, “They had a great divorce. They just knew that it wasn’t working for them to stay married, and that was sad. But once they decided to stop, everything got much easier for everybody. There was never a moment of animosity after that at all. I’ve got to tell you, it’s pretty amazing, because my own stepkids weren’t that lucky for the first few years. It’s not always good. But when people are always arguing … well, it’s better to not have that. When they say they can’t solve it, then they should stop, because that’s a toxic environment you don’t want to bring your children up in. So I applaud them for doing it so well.”
The amazing thing is that the love story between them didn’t end with the dissolution of their marriage. They each got married to other people, but genuinely loved each other and remained friends until the end of their lives. Lucie points us in the direction of a previous documentary about her parents that she produced, Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie, which is largely made up of old super 8mm films shot by the family. The final sequence of that documentary takes place in a swimming pool, where Lucy and Desi are swimming with their grandson, Lucie’s son Simon, who was less than a year old.
“They way they are with each other is so charming” reflects Lucie warmly, “and you’d think they were the oldest married couple in Hollywood. They hadn’t been married to each other for 20-some years, but it’s charming. And every time somebody tells me they’ve seen that documentary, they always say, ‘Oh, that scene at the end in the pool,’ and they love it, because they can see after all those years they’re so happy that they’re still getting along. It’s, like, ‘See, they really did love each other.’ There was such passion in that marriage that it could have gone either way. But it was a good thing that they were together; they created a lot of good stuff together.”
As for Lucy & Desi, which is being produced with the full cooperation of the family and estate, Amy says, “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.”
Adds Image Documentaries president Justin Wilkes, “As television’s long-reigning ‘First Family,’ Lucy and Desi blazed a revolutionary trail through the cultural landscape that laid the groundwork for so much of the entertainment industry as we now know it. They created so many television firsts — not only in their portrayal of a multi-ethnic marriage or Lucy’s on-air pregnancy, but as the first woman to head a studio and the creators of television syndication. It’s such an incredibly rich, inspiring and entertaining story and we’re honored to bring it to the screen.”
For the highlights of that incredibly rich love story, please scroll down.
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