Nicole Kidman stars as Lucille Ball in the upcoming Amazon movie Being the Ricardos. Ball’s husband, Desi Arnaz, is played by Javier Bardem. Kidman’s casting as the fiery redhead who dominated the small screen during the mid-twentieth century – and whose sitcom is still often featured as reruns – created quite a bit of controversy, though.
Many Lucille Ball fans thought that Debra Messing was the obvious choice to play the female lead in Being the Ricardos. Messing’s naturally red hair and sharp nose bear a distinctive physical resemblance to Ball. She is also known for her comedic roles, from playing one of the titular characters in the hit sitcom Will & Grace and numerous rom coms.
Kidman herself wasn’t even sure about her ability to portray Ball in the biopic.
“When the reality of playing her hit me, I went, ‘What have I said yes to?’ To which I then went, ‘Oh no, I’m not right. Everyone thinks I’m not right, so I’m going to try to sidestep this,” said Kidman in an interview with Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest.
Director Aaron Sorkin personally forbade Kidman from bailing on the project and convinced her to stay in the role.
“And thank God, because….I got to fall in love with her [Lucille Ball],” said Kidman.
During filming, Kidman said she “didn’t look in the mirror much. If I looked in the mirror, I’d be like, ‘Ah, help.’ So I just basically trusted [director] Aaron [Sorkin].”
Ball’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz, saw segments of the film before its release and gives Kidman’s portrayal of her late mother two thumbs up.
“Nicole did a spectacular job…boy, what she did was astounding. She’s got such poise and class,” said Arnaz.
Most importantly, Arnaz said that Kidman didn’t try to do a Ball impression. “That’s the last thing you want. There are no look-alikes. I mean, nobody was cast because they look exactly like somebody.” Arnaz emphasized that every actor was cast based on their strength as a performer. She thinks everyone did a great job. Being the Ricardos is already an early Oscar contender. The rest of us will soon get to see for ourselves what all the fuss is about and if Kidman’s performance as one of the most iconic actresses/comediennes/Hollywood powerhouses of the twentieth century lives up to the hype. Being the Ricardos will be out in theaters on December 10 and available for streaming on Prime Video beginning December 21st.