Amy Poehler will make her feature documentary directing debut with “Lucy & Desi,” an upcoming project focusing on Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Poehler will also produce the film through her Paper Kite banner, alongside Imagine’s Justin Wilkes and Michael Rosenberg, White Horse’s Nigel Sinclair and Jeanne Elfant Festa, and Diamond Docs’ Mark Monroe.
“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 Arnaz,” said Poehler.
“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”, said Imagine Documentaries’ President and producer, Justin Wilkes, “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.”
“Jeanne and I are thrilled to be reuniting with Ron, Brian, Michael, Justin, Sara and the Imagine team, and Mark Monroe to tell this extraordinary story about Lucille Ball and the way she transformed all of television while capturing the hearts of the nation. We are proud that Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr., have trusted us with their legacy, and so excited to be going on this journey with the brilliant Amy Poehler at the helm,” said producer Nigel Sinclair.
Imagine Documentaries and White Horse Pictures partnered with the estate of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz to produce the feature documentary.
The description reads, “The documentary feature, ‘’LUCY & DESI” (w.t.), will tell the story of the groundbreaking comedian who forever changed the way the world viewed comedy and paved the way for scores of women who followed in her footsteps. Using never-before-seen archival film and personal still photos, and first-person narratives, the documentary will trace Lucy’s surprising journey—as a performer as well as a businesswoman, and will illuminate her upheaval of male-dominated comedy, breaking barriers for women in entertainment and beyond.”
The studio added, “Ball’s childhood was defined by financial and emotional hardship but she was determined to pursue a career in show business. She met her 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.”
The description continued, “Long after her death in 1989, Ball’s legacy continues to be reflected in the TV industry at every level and continues to inspire and influence the work of our most lauded comedians. Her relationship with her husband and professional partner, Arnaz, was not only one of Hollywood’s great love stories, but also one of its most legendary business partnerships, transforming the television industry and American culture for decades to come.”
Imagine’s Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Sara Bernstein will executive produce with White Horse’s Nicholas Ferrall and Cassidy Hartmann, and Diamond Docs’ Morgan Sackett. Mark Monroe also serves as a writer.
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