During the height of Cold War paranoia, the American public heard a startling accusation: actress Lucille Ball is a member of the Communist Party. Being the Ricardos is Aaron Sorkin’s third feature as writer and director, and the film stars Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball and Javier Bardem as Desi Arnaz.
As much as Being the Ricardos is a film about the lives and relationship of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, it’s also an exploration of the creative process, zooming in on a particularly turbulent time in the production of I Love Lucy amid allegations of infidelity and “un-American activities.”
Being the Ricardos follows a week in the making of an episode of I Love Lucy—from table read to filming in front of a live studio audience—as Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, and the creative team behind the show attempt to keep production on track while fallout from these rumors threatens both the show and the personal lives of those involved.
In talking with camera operators Peter Rosenfeld, SOC, and Lukasz Bielan, they expressed some kinship with the characters they helped to recreate. What resulted was an extremely close working relationship between camera operators and a level of individual creative freedom seldom seen in the industry.
While writer and director Aaron Sorkin focused on dialogue and performances, he deferred much of the task of crafting the film’s visual language to director of photography Jeff Croenweth as well as Rosenfeld and Bielan. It was a totally unique way of working for them, a fact that’s reflected in the credits of the film.
In their conversation with Camera Operator, Rosenfeld and Bielan talk about their working relationship over the years, the unique way Aaron Sorkin directs, and the importance of building trust in the relationship between actors and operators.