Amy Poehler Reveals Some Surprising Facts She Learned While Making ‘Lucy and Desi’ Documentary

SNL alum Amy Poehler is making her documentary directorial debut with the upcoming film Lucy and Desi, which showcases the lives of I Love Lucy stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Coming to Amazon Prime on March 4, the profile of the iconic couple was a labor of love for Poehler, who discovered some little-known details about the Hollywood legends.

'I Love Lucy' stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz
‘I Love Lucy’ stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz | Dick Hanley/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Amy Poehler got to collaborate with ‘Happy Days’ alum

Poehler is no stranger to being behind the camera. Directing films including Wine Country and Moxie, the actor was thrilled when an Academy Award-winning director pitched her the concept for the documentary.

“Imagine Entertainment approached me with the idea,” Poehler told the Hollywood Reporter. “I’m such a fan of Ron Howard and his work. He’s a huge inspiration to me.”

The former Parks and Recreation star relished the opportunity to learn more about Ball and Arnaz, even though she already had a solid foundation on the comedic couple.

“I knew a good amount about Lucy and Desi but it was really just the tip of the iceberg,” Poehler remarked. “Of course, I always was incredibly impressed by their talent and their innovation. I don’t think I really understood what they were like as real flesh and blood people. So it was very, very cool to dig into it.”

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Desi Arnaz started a dance movement

Throughout the making of Lucy and Desi, Poehler unearthed some noteworthy aspects of the couple and how they impacted others. She pointed out what Arnaz went through to immigrate to the United States and how his background in Cuba shaped him as a person.

“Not enough is spoken about Desi’s early trauma,” Poehler explained, “and the way that he turned that into an incredible success [and] how expensive that was for him, personally.”

The range of details she learned through her research included an iconic dance that Arnaz apparently introduced when he came to America.

“Everything from getting to know exactly what they were dealing with in the television studio system at the time to realizing that Desi brought the conga line to the U.S.,” Poehler said. “You know that dance that your aunts do at your cousin’s wedding? It’s because of Desi.”

Lucille Ball was ‘a very serious person’

Fans may not be aware of how Ball took aspiring female comedians under her wing, which Poehler noted was a priority to the famous redhead.

“I also was really moved by the way, in Lucy’s later years, she not only continued to work, but she also mentored a lot of young women, especially in comedy,” Poehler said.

The Inside Out star shared that Ball was not all fun and games behind the camera, and was a consummate professional when it came to comedy.

Lucy studied with Buster Keaton,” Poehler revealed. “I think one of the things that surprised people is Lucy in real life was not a zany, wacky comedian, cracking jokes. She’s a very serious person who approached her comedy very seriously. She was an actress first, who played things very grounded and real.”

Lucy and Desi is available on Amazon Prime on March 4, 2022.

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