Transcript for What Javier Bardem says he learned about Desi Arnaz in ‘Being the Ricardos'
- You know, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were a great comedy team and they created the blueprint, basically, for the TV sitcom with I Love Lucy. Now, you know, I thought that you were very funny in this, in many of the scenes as Desi. Most of them, when you weren't trying to be serious, when you were really being funny, I thought you really nailed it. And I was surprised to hear that you actually had a comedy coach. What did you learn from a comedy coach?
- He was more of a clown coach because Desi, as much as Lucy, they both were amazing super talented clowns. They really had a body language on their show that it was beautifully done and achieved. And, of course, if you are not used to that language, you have to train yourself into it. As much as I trained for the singing, for the conga playing, for the guitar playing, for the Cuban accent, for the English accent, it's about really pouring yourself into work and trying to achieve all of those elements.
- Well, you had the support of their children, Lucy and Desi Jr., who were also executive producers on the film. They even gave you some private home recordings to study. Now in preparing for the role-- I always find this fascinating-- did you learn anything new about Desi and their relationship that we might not know?
- Well, I would say that I think based on what Desi would be or how he would behave or even hear or talk on camera is basically the way he was talking off camera. He was that person. He was transparent. He was clear, crystal clear. And he was very strong and very relentlessly in the action of really making himself being heard and being listened and taking care-- and being taken seriously. Because he was a foreigner as well. So that energy of his that we know so well, I think it was pretty much his energy, his real energy, based on what I heard on private conversations.
- Javier, I live in Miami. I have a lot of Cuban friends. I can tell you that every Cuban I've spoken to who knew Desi thought you did a great job. And I'm married to a Cuban man. So I know what it's like to argue with a Cuban husband. And I think you did a great job.
But you did get some criticism. Some people weren't happy-- there's always critics-- that a Spaniard was cast as a Cuban. I think it's ridiculous. I thought you nailed it. How do you answer that criticism?
- Thank you so much. I think we are going to a place now where everybody is very sensitive about representing minorities. And I am absolutely supportive of that, meaning if they want to go first to a Cuban actor, they should, or an actor that has Cuban blood in it, they should. And actually they did for Desi. But for whatever reason, it didn't work. So it came back to me. And I was ready. I took the work and I really worshipped the fact that he was a Cuban and what he represented from the Cuban community. And I worked hard to earn it.
That being said, I'm an actor. And we actors do-- our craft it's about becoming somebody that we're not. And that includes origins. And that includes sexual orientation. And I think it's fine to really open it and give a chair on the table to people that are not represented, absolutely. But at the same time, we cannot criticize an actor or an actress for playing a part because you are not from that place or because they don't share, I don't know, the sexual orientation of that character.
I think that's really framing and limiting the craft of an actor, which is something that is beyond the logic. It's about the art of expression. And that's where we as an audience have the joy to see the skills of the actor and actress, how far they can go in order to make it real. That's what I think.
- And Javier, as I mentioned to you during the break, my husband is from Spain. And I thought your accent, your Cuban accent was just really spot on during this movie. I thought it was just fantastic. And you also had to sing, dance, and play the conga in the film. The other day, I heard that your wife Penelope Cruz said after seeing you sing in Being the Ricardos, she would love to do a musical with you. Is that something that you're interested in at all? Would you do it?
- Well, she sings and dances beautifully, way more than I do-- I mean, way better than I do. So, yeah, I'll follow her steps. I guess she was first surprised, she was the first one to be surprised by the fact that I could actually open my mouth and make a sound. So I guess that's why she said, oh, OK, we can do something together now.
- Javier, my parents heard me sing in something we did here on the show. And my mom called and her voicemail said, oh, wow, you can actually sing. I was like, where have you been my whole life? But speaking of musicals, you will soon be seen in the Disney live action film of The Little Mermaid as King Triton.
Now is it true you actually reached out to Director Rob Marshall to throw your hat in the ring? And why did you want this role so badly?
- Absolutely, because I adore Rob Marshall. Rob Marshall was the first one who trusted me singing a song back in the day when he was going to do Nine. We were almost going to work together, but it didn't happen.
And then when I heard that he was doing The Little Mermaid, and I know how much my daughter and son loved the movie, I was like, I wonder who's going to play Triton. So I sent him a text saying, hey, I don't know, if you've casted already, of course not, but if there is a chance that you want to consider a Triton with an accent, I'm here. And he said, I'm in the grocery store.
And I'm actually, I was going to actually write you a text asking if you were interested. So how fun was that? How amazing was that? And it's been an amazing, an amazing experience. And I'm sure it's going to be a movie that is going to blow everybody's minds. It's going to be something, I mean, epic.
- We look forward to seeing anything you're in, Javier. Anything you want to give us, we're there for you Thank you so much for coming on the show. Being the Ricardos is streaming now on Amazon Prime.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.