‘Lucy and Desi’ Press Coverage
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‘Lucy and Desi’ Press Coverage

Amy Poehler has been doing a lot of press for her documentary ‘Lucy and Desi‘, which debuted (online due to COVID restrictions) at the Sundance Film Festival. We’ve gathered all her written and video interviews so far, which you can check out below. And keep checking back cause we’ll be updating this posting as more stuff comes up!

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Believe it or not (actually, it’s probably easy to believe), there was a time when pregnant women were deemed too risqué for broadcast television. That changed when Lucille Ball was memorably rushed to the hospital to give birth on “I Love Lucy,” the groundbreaking sitcom that co-starred her real-life husband Desi Arnaz and left an indelible mark on show business.

“Lucy and Desi,” a new documentary from director Amy Poehler, explores the unlikely rise to fame and enduring legacy of two comedy icons who broke barriers and subverted expectations about what it means to be an all-American couple. In advance of the movie’s premiere at Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 22, the former “Saturday Night Live” and “Parks and Recreation” star spoke to Variety about her deep dive into all things Ball and Arnaz, the impressive longevity of “I Love Lucy” — a show that debuted in 1951 and continues to find fans in reruns — and her affinity for TikTok.

What interested you in directing a documentary about Lucy and Desi?

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, over the years, have been kind of flattened out and made two dimensional. I was really interested in seeing the people behind the images. People use words like “genius” and “icon” and “trailblazer,” but those aren’t human words. [Laughs] Those were words for machines and astronauts, which — they were both astronauts, for sure, and they were ahead of their time. But they were also people.

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The documentary Lucy and Desi chronicles the rise of comedy icon Lucille Ball and her relationship with Desi Arnaz. The film, which will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 22 before heading to Amazon on March 4, also marks Amy Poehler’s first foray into the documentary directing space.

Poehler has directed features before, including Netflix’s Wine Country, as well as episodes of her TV show Parks and Recreation. But when speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the actress-writer-producer-director says she’s always had respect for the documentary as a separate art form. Digging into the life and relationship of Ball and Arnaz proved to be the perfect segue way into that space.

Lucy and Desi features never-before-seen footage and photos, as well as first-person narratives from Ball and Arnaz themselves. Additionally, Poehler interviews many who knew the duo and those who were impacted by them: their daughter Lucie Arnaz, Desi Arnaz Jr., Carol Burnett, Bette Midler and Norman Lear. And there’s still a treasure trove of material about Ball and Arnaz, I Love Lucy, and their relationships with costars and mentors that Poehler discovered. Some much so, Poehler says, that she even explored doing a docuseries instead of a feature. But with Lucy and Desi, Poehler ultimately wanted to focus on “one relationship and how it transformed through time.”

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Amy Poehler misses going to big events just as much as the rest of us.

The comedian-turned-director, whose documentary “Lucy and Desi” premieres at the virtual Sundance Film Festival Saturday, is attempting to bring Park City, Utah, to her living room after the in-person event was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

“Every once in a while, I just breathe really heavy into a paper bag so I can get lightheaded and feel like I’m in the right altitude,” Poehler jokes, speaking over Zoom the day before her movie’s debut.

Poehler’s first time going to Sundance was with her co-stars from 2001’s now-cult comedy classic “Wet Hot American Summer,” which bowed at the fest.

“I have a memory of sharing a house with a bunch of misfits and having a really good time,” she recalls. “But I’m so thrilled to be here as a director, which is a real proper dream of mine.”

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The last two years have prompted much contemplation and reconsideration of the reasons why we make our films as well as the ways in which we make them. What aspect of your filmmaking—whether in your creative process, the way you finance your films, your production methodology or the way you relate to your audience—did you have to reinvent in order to make and complete the film you are bringing to the festival this year?

It has been an interesting process to work on a film about two true innovators, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, while show business has had to adjust to so many changes. Masks on set, constant testing and an incredible uptick in people watching films from home.

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Aaron Sorkin offers a fictionalized take on Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s professional and romantic relationship in Being the Ricardos. But for the real story, there’s Lucy and Desi, the documentary directed by actress and producer Amy Poehler that just premiered at Sundance.

Poehler’s absorbing look at the couple behind I Love Lucy is based on previously unheard audio recordings with Ball and Arnaz, as well as other rare archive material.

“We were lucky enough that the estate really opened up a whole new world for us and we were excited about hearing Lucy and Desi tell their story in their own words,” Poehler said as she stopped by Deadline’s virtual Sundance Studio. “There’s an incredible amount of information that’s public and there’s tons of ways in which to tell the story, but we really wanted to try to stay inside their relationship and, in many ways, their heads and hearts throughout it.”

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Amy Poehler hopes that “Lucy and Desi” can show viewers an intimate (and honest) look at the couple behind their long-beloved ‘50s sitcom.

“One of the goals was to use Lucy and Desi’s relationship as a structure in which to remind people that when you use terms like icons and legends… that there are people behind it,” Poehler, who directs the feature-length documentary, told film and media reporter Rebecca Rubin at Variety’s Virtual Sundance Studio presented by Audible. “Lucy and Ricky were characters, and Lucy and Desi were people.”

“Lucy and Desi,” which premiered Jan. 22 at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, explores the rise of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz — as well as their work as the iconic Lucy and Ricky Ricardo on “I Love Lucy,” where the two broke barriers about what it meant to be an “all-American couple” on and off the screen. The documentary dives into the couple’s stories through archival footage and interviews with their children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr., as well as other comedy legends including Carol Burnett, Bette Midler and Norman Lear.

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