Playing one of the funniest people of all time is outside of Nicole Kidman's comfort zone, but she's still giving it her best shot in Aaron Sorkin's upcoming biopic Being the Ricardos. With Kidman starring as Lucille Ball, Javier Bardem co-stars as Desi Arnaz, her real-life husband and I Love Lucy co-star. Production is currently underway, and while no footage has been released, images of Kidman in character from the set have been leaked, providing a first look at Kidman's version of Lucy.
In a recent chat with Chris Rock hosted by Variety, Nicole Kidman shed some light on her experience with portraying Ball in a movie. For her part, the actress agrees with Rock's assertion that Ball is "one of the most talented people to ever roam the earth." Kidman also notes how replicating Ball's unique voice and delivery has required more preparation time than the Best Actress Oscar winner expected, as she isn't used to playing such hilarious people.
"In an accent, I'll put the time in. I've had to put in an enormous amount of time on Lucille Ball right now, because she has a very particular way of speaking," Kidman explained. "I am way out of my comfort zone right now, Chris. I'm free-falling. I'd like to be funny. I'm never cast funny."
Also pointing out that Being the Ricardos leans more heavily into drama than comedy, Kidman added: "Lucille Ball is hopefully funny. The strange thing about Lucille Ball is that everyone thinks we're remaking the I Love Lucy show, and it's so not that. It's about Lucy and Desi and their relationship and their marriage. It's very deep, actually."
As Kidman suggested, Being the Ricardos is not a comedy, so fans shouldn't expect to go in expecting I Love Lucy-style humor. Some of that will be shown, but the focus on the biopic is primarily on what was happening behind the scenes. One particularly important week that forever changes both the lives of Lucille and Desi will be explored at the heart of the story, and it sounds like it's going to be much more dramatic and "serious" than it is funny.
"She was a trailblazer," Kidman said of all Lucille was doing from behind the scenes. She formed her production company. Desi was Cuban, and she had to fight to get him on the show. They had just so many things in their marriage that are so relevant today, and what she was also dealing with in terms of everything that artists deal with, where you're up against big corporations. And you're like, 'No, this is art.'"
After Kidman's casting was first announced, many Will & Grace fans expressed their disappointment that Debra Messing didn't get the part. While Messing does a killer impression of Ball's I Love Lucy character, the decision to cast Kidman seems to be due to the movie's heavier focus on drama over the comedy aspects. In any case, we'll see how the project turns out soon enough, but given Kidman's proven talent, she ought to do just fine in the role. This news comes to us from Variety.