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FOOTAGE REVEALED: Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball in Being the Ricardos

Back in the 1940s and 1950s, Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball’s unconventional romance was the talk of the town. Hollywood didn’t know what to make of their nontraditional union, and the fact that they were an ethnically mixed couple stirred up quite a bit of controversy at the time as well.

Ball hailed from Jamestown, New York, and Arnaz was a native of Cuba. But despite what people thought about their relationship, this Hollywood power couple couldn’t seem to stay apart from each other – even after they eventually divorced. You see, their love ran far deeper than anyone had realized at the time. It was something beyond just romance and lust. It was real. 

Arnaz was notoriously far from being a saint, and he was well known for his philandering. But, the chemistry that he shared with Ball was unmistakable

Arnaz and Ball had two children together and produced some of the most memorable, groundbreaking, and iconic moments in television history. They did their part in ushering in a new era of syndicated broadcasting. The production studio they formed together, Desilu Pictures, introduced the world to such influential series as Mission Impossible, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Star Trek.

But the show that they were most famously associated with was the trailblazing sitcom I Love Lucy, which ran for six hilarious seasons between 1951 and 1957. To this day, it’s considered one of the greatest comedy programs to ever hit the airwaves, and audiences everywhere couldn’t seem to get enough of it.

We’ve covered Desi and Lucille’s relationship in quite a few of our videos already, so if you want to brush up on your knowledge of their marriage and shared accomplishments, we recommend subscribing to our channel and checking out a few of these videos. We’ll put a couple of links to some of these videos in the description. 

Anyway, back in September of 2015, Cate Blanchett was announced to star in a biopic film about the classic Hollywood power couple with actor, screenwriter, and producer Aaron Sorkin slated to write the screenplay for the project.

By January 2021, however, Blanchett had backed out of the project, and actress Nicole Kidman had entered into negotiations to replace her. It was then that revealed that actor Javier Bardem also began talks to portray Desi Arnaz.

Filming began on March 29, 2021, in LA. In September 2021, Sorkin revealed that the film had entered into post-production.

While Being The Ricardos – and especially its casting choices – have stirred up quite a bit of controversy since it was announced that the film was in the works, there is also an equal amount of buzz and excitement about the upcoming offering. Join us as we take a first look at Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball. We’ll also give you the rundown on what we know about the highly-anticipated film so far.

Nicole Kidman Feels Honored To Portray A Legend

Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball might at first seem like a strange casting choice, but after watching the first trailer that has come out so far generating hype for the upcoming film, you can begin to see why Sorkin has put so much faith in her.

Being the Ricardos is expected to hit theaters on December 10, 2021, and Amazon’s Prime streaming service on the 21st. The will star Javier Bardem as Desi Arnaz, and Aaron Sorkin will be at the helm of the project as both writer and director. As you might recall, Sorkin was the man behind the camera in last year’s critically acclaimed period piece The Trial of the Chicago 7.

Being the Ricardos is set during a week of production of Arnaz and Ball’s immensely popular 1950s sitcom, I Love Lucy. The film takes a deep dive into their professional and personal relationship, detailing many of their ups and downs. Sorkin also recently revealed that the film would feature four musical numbers.

In the film’s trailer, Kidman as Ball, tells the audience that she has been ‘paid a fortune to do exactly what’ she loves to do. She goes on to say that she gets to work alongside her husband, whom she says is genuinely impressed by her. She then wraps up that powerful opening statement by stating that all she has to do is ‘kill it for 36 weeks in a row’ and then do it all over again the following year.

Throughout the ninety-second trailer, Kidman’s face is mostly obscured, but there is one brief shot of her at the end stomping on a vat of grapes – an ode to a famous scene in the classic ‘Lucy’ episode ‘Lucy’s Italian Vacation’.

I Love Lucy’s iconic theme music and title cards are also faithfully recreated in the trailer.

While Lucy and Desi fans remain divided about their feelings and impressions of the upcoming film, Being the Ricardo’s reportedly has the full approval of the couple’s 70-year-old daughter, Lucie Arnaz. In fact, the aging actress made a post on her Instagram stating that she felt like the film was ‘astounding’.

Arnaz went on to explain how she felt like Kidman had successfully captured her mother’s soul.

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And don’t go anywhere just yet. Keep watching to see who else is expected to appear in Being the Ricardos.

Kidman Has Given Us A Few Spoilers

Earlier this year, Kidman sat down with fellow actor Chris Rock for Variety’s Actors on Actors program and discussed the prep work that was involved in gearing up for the role. She mentioned that she had to put an incredible amount of time and energy into capturing the heart and spirit of Ball. Kidman explained that Lucille had a very distinct way of speaking and that she had to step out of her comfort zone in order to embody her accurately.

Being the Ricardo’s isn’t just some kind of I Love Lucy reboot. Far from it. It’s more so about Lucy and Desi’s relationship and marriage. Unlike their hit sitcom, Kidman says that Being the Ricardo’s is going to be a very deep production.

Desi and Ball got married in 1940, and they parted ways twenty years later in 1960. While their on-screen personas were lighthearted and jovial, behind the scenes, their personal lives were pretty tumultuous. But despite their many problems and eventual split, they never once stopped caring for each other, and they never ceased being a crucial part of each other’s lives.

Not Everyone Is Thrilled About The Film’s Casting Choices

Both Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem’s casting came under scrutiny by fans and critics after it was announced that they had been selected to play the film’s leading roles. In particular, some took issue with the fact that Bardem is Spanish while Arnaz was of Cuban descent.

Sorkin addressed these criticisms, however, by saying that his casting of Kidman and Bardem was more so about Ball and Arnaz as actors than the characters they portrayed on I Love Lucy. Some people that took issue with those casting choices assumed that they had been selected to portray Lucy and Ricky Ricardo – which makes sense given the film’s name. But Sorkin told Entertainment Tonight earlier this year that the film more so focuses on the couple’s on and off-set relationship when the cameras weren’t rolling. 

As we mentioned previously, Being the Ricardos takes place during a typical production week of I Love Lucy. The movie will start with a table read on Monday and will cover the events throughout the week up until the live audience taping on Friday. Thrown into the mix will be several long flashback sequences that will flesh out the story showing the audience a bit of Ball and Arnaz’s backstory.

At least one of these flashbacks, as revealed by Lucille and Desi’s daughter, Lucie, will take place in the late ’30s, more than a decade before Lucille had become Lucy Ricardo. Lucie got a chance to sit in on the production of the film for a couple of days, and she has nothing but praise for Kidman’s portrayal of her mother.

She described Kidman’s performance in nothing short of glowing terms. She praised the actress for her poise and class and was blown away by how she was able to capture the inner workings of her mind in such an accurate and faithful way.

The Film Will Be More Dramatic Than Comedic

While the film’s premise might not immediately seem very engaging, we do know that in the film, Lucy and Desi will face a crisis of some kind that could potentially end their careers. Beyond that, their marriage will also be put to the test.

We also know that the film will be more of a drama than a comedy. Everyone knows how funny Lucy and her husband could be, and Kidman has expressed her desire to channel Lucille’s renowned sense of humor into her performance, but the film is shaping up to be a fairly heavy feature.

Kidman told Chris Rock that Lucy and Desi had to contend with many things in their marriage that are still very relevant in today’s world. She also had to deal with everything that pretty much every artist has to deal with when pitted against big corporations.

Being the Ricardo’s Supporting Cast

While most of the buzz about the casting is centered around Kidman and Bardem, they aren’t the only gifted actors that we know will be in the movie. Oscar Award-winning actor J.K. Simons has been reported to be playing William Frawley, the actor who originally played Lucile and Desi’s next-door neighbor and close friend, Fred Mertz, in I Love Lucy.

Nina Arianda is also slated to play Vivian Vance, the actress who portrayed Fred Mertz’s wife, Ethel. Some outlets have stated that Tony Hale will play Jess Oppenheimer, I Love Lucy’s executive producer.

Alia Shawkat, whom you might remember from Arrested Development as the character Maeby, is also said to be playing Madelyn Pugh, one of I Love Lucy’s writing partners. A few other names that have been associated with the film are Jake Lacy, best known for playing Pete Miller on the ninth and tenth seasons of The Office, Clark Gregg, the actor who played Agent Phill Coulson in several Marvel Films, and Linda Lavin, the actress who played the title character in the sitcom Alice.

Well, that’s pretty much all that we know about Being the Ricardos so far. If you’re as excited as we are to watch this film, you won’t have to wait very long as it will hit theaters on December 10.

What do you think about Aaron Sorkin’s casting choice of Nicole Kidman to play Lucille Ball? Do you think she’s got what it takes to play the fiery, whimsical redhead, or do you think that someone else was better suited for the role? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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