Being Ricardo: Nicole Kidman On The Difficulties Of Incarnating Lucille Ball

Nicole Kidman plunged headlong into her latest role, and later realized that it would be much more difficult than she originally thought.

Nicole Kidman isn’t the first person you think to play American comedy legend Lucille Ball.

Other than red hair – and red is not even Ball’s natural color – no striking similarities come to mind.

But Kidman’s play as Ball in Be Ricardo attracts attention with its complex and nuanced portrayal of a woman whose fame could not overshadow the turmoil in her personal and professional life.

Aaron Sorkin’s film takes place over the course of a week, behind the scenes of an episode of the show “I Love Lucy.” It’s a dramatic week in which Ball will challenge McCarthy’s toxic political paranoia, as well as her relationships with co-stars, the network, and most importantly, her own husband and creative partner.

Kidman spoke to about the role, working with Aaron Sorkin and why she would like to do more comedies.

There have been reports that you had some concerns when taking on this role. Can you tell me about this?

I initially had no fear. I was absolutely delighted. “Yes, I would love to do it.” I so want to work with Aaron Sorkin, he has never offered me anything before. And Javier, working with Javier Bardem was great, as was the whole cast. J.K. [Simmons], Nina [Arianda], everything is in it.

And then when we started, because I was in Australia, when I said yes and I needed to start preparing here, I thought, “Oh wow, this is much harder than I thought, I hope I get there.” … …

Which was more difficult than you thought?

I worked with a movement coach, I worked with a dialect coach, I started most of the training here and I had to do it through Zoom. And it was difficult. But when I finally got to the States, we had a couple of days of rehearsals and we started filming.

Wow, this is fast.

“Just got it for this.” This is what Aaron Sorkin told both of us. He said, “I want you to find humanity in these two people. It’s about marriage, partnerships, many other things besides the imitation of Lucille Ball.

I can definitely see it.

It’s not about, “Okay, now let’s see i love lucy show ”, because it does not interest him.

His mind is so simple and interesting. What interests him is the dynamics, politics of the time and the making of comedy, which, of course, he knows how to do because he did it. West wing for so many years. So, he has some similarities to Lucille and Desi.

I thought Be Ricardo was supposed to be a comedy, but when I watched it, I realized that it was actually a drama about a comedian.

Yes, this is what Aaron constantly emphasized. Every time they put i love lucy the title song, he said, “Please, can we not do this? For the time being, we need to focus primarily on the history of this couple. ”

I think people at first thought: okay, why do you need to do this, and why should I do it? But hopefully when people see the film, they will be entertained by the story, because the story itself is very compelling.

You watch a woman move through a completely new area for someone at the time and hopefully delve into what it takes to do comedy, be an actress, and have a relationship.

And then I had no idea that I was accused of being a communist and dealing with McCarthy. There were so many things that I had no links to.

What you said about people getting an insight into the comedy process, about being a comedian, I have always loved your comedy performances. I like To die for, this is one of my favorites. I’ve always wondered why you don’t do comedies anymore?

I am not asked to do them! It was so nice to be in the theater and hear people laugh about it, although this is not a comedy, I hope there is still a lot of laughter in it at different times, because the dialogues are so sharp and so fast.

I heard the audience laugh and thought, “Oh, this is fun!” And when we filmed, we had a studio audience.

I stomped on grapes and they laughed. But then I realized that they were ordered to laugh.

I’m sure some of them were real.

I thought, “Oh, that’s right, they have to laugh on command, they are in the movie.”

Are you hoping to be asked to do more comedic roles after they see you doing it?

I would like that! I definitely like it, it feels good, it is definitely very good.

I am ready to go where my life takes me. I think there is a certain place that you reach, and which I have always tried to stick to in fact, goes with the flow. Such a feeling. I don’t have big plans for the future or anything like that.

I’m like: OK, let’s see what comes to me.

Edited for clarity and length.

“Being Ricardo” is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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