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Nicole Kidman wanted to back out of playing Lucille Ball after Being the Ricardos backlash

·2 min read
Nicole Kidman wanted to back out of playing Lucille Ball after Being the Ricardos backlash

We all love Lucy — so much so that Nicole Kidman almost backed out of playing her.

During a recent appearance on Live With Kelly and Ryan, the actress revealed that the immediate backlash to news of her casting as Lucille Ball in Aaron Sorkin's Being the Ricardos almost drove her from the project.

"I wasn't initially [anxious]," Kidman said of playing Ball. "Initially it's like, Aaron Sorkin wrote this screenplay that you read and you cannot put down. And I say to people, 'If you can get your hands on this screenplay, read it, because it's such a good read.' It's as good as a great novel."

But, Kidman added, "When the reality of playing her hit me, I went, 'What I have 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.'"

Ultimately, the production team refused to let detractors scare her off. "The producer Todd Black and Aaron Sorkin were both like, 'Absolutely not,'" she said. "I was in Australia and they were like, 'No.' And thank God, because then I was so grateful because I got to fall in love with her."

Sorkin wanted Kidman for the role because he wanted someone who could deliver a riveting dramatic performance, not a mimic. "I made it clear to everyone, but particularly Nicole and Javier [Bardem], that I didn't need them to do a physical impersonation of Lucy and Desi [Arnaz]," he previously told EW. "When Lucy and Desi had to play Lucy and Ricky, I needed some kind of nod toward those characters that are very familiar to us, but makeup or prosthetics, we weren't going to do any of that. I didn't want it to be how good an impersonation they were doing. I wanted them to play the characters in the script."

BEING THE RICARDOS
BEING THE RICARDOS

Everett Collection Nicole Kidman in 'Being the Ricardos'

Being the Ricardos follows one tumultuous week of production on the set of I Love Lucy, including Ball's red scare and the tabloid hit on Arnaz's extramarital affairs. It hits select theaters Dec. 10 and Amazon Prime Video on Dec. 21.

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