Why Nicole Kidman found it ‘terrifying’ playing Lucille Ball in Being the Ricardos

Nicole Kidman has portrayed quite a few incredible real-life icons on-screen now, including writer Virginia Woolf in The Hours, broadcaster Gretchen Carlson in Bombshell, and Princess Grace Kelly in Grace of Monaco, so it comes as no surprise that her latest project sees her shine in yet another famous role.

The Academy Award-winning actress stars as Hollywood legend Lucille Ball in the new film Being the Ricardos, a biopic depicting the relationship between Lucille and her husband Desi Arnaz during a week of filming their popular sitcom, I Love Lucy.

Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball in Being the Ricardos.
Nicole Kidman plays Lucille Ball in the new film Being the Ricardos. Photo: Amazon Prime Video

‘I certainly was going to give it my best try’

Speaking with Yahoo Lifestyle at the film’s Australian premiere on Wednesday, Nicole opened up about what drew her to the role of the beloved comedienne and why it was so “terrifying”.

“To play her, but also Aaron Sorkin having written and directed it and to work opposite Javier Bardem and then all of the actors that he had handpicked for each role, I think that's the intoxicating mix,” she said.


“It's also daunting and terrifying, but at the same time, that's what we do as actors,” she continued.

“We jump in and we forge hopefully into new territory, not always doing what we know we can do. I did not know I’d be able to do it, as [Keith] will attest, but I certainly was going to give it my best try.”

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban on the red carpet.
Nicole admits that playing Lucille was ‘daunting and terrifying’. Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle

‘I’m just happy people are here and showing up’

Nicole has already received enormous praise for her performance, including a Best Actress nomination at the Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Awards, among others, and says the recognition is “very, very appreciated”.

“As much as it’s an acknowledgement of my work, hopefully it makes people go, ‘Oh I want to see the film!’,” she remarked.

As for the speculation that Being the Ricardos could score Nicole her fifth Oscar nomination, the Australian actress is extremely humble.

“I’m just happy people are here and showing up!” she laughed.

Lucie Arnaz and Nicole Kidman.
Nicole says that Lucille’s daughter Lucie gave her secret recordings to prepare for the role. Photo: Amazon Prime Video

‘She gave me secret recordings that she had’

Not only has Nicole been applauded by critics for her portrayal of Lucille Ball, but she’s also been highly commended by Lucille’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz, who served as a producer on the film.

“Nicole Kidman became my mother’s soul,” she gushed in a YouTube video in October. “She crawled into her head. I don’t know how you do that. She cared very deeply about this part, it shows. And I believed everything she said.”

On the red carpet, Nicole spoke candidly about her relationship with Lucie and why she felt it was necessary to work together.

“I reached out to her and she was a huge part of the performance, I needed her,” she admitted.

“And Aaron said to me, ‘Maybe you shouldn't have her come to the set because you don't want her judging how you're playing it, I just want you to be very free’. But it was important to me to have her there. I’m playing her mum.

“And she was very, very open and she gave me secret recordings that she had. She gave me an enormous amount of insight and secrets, basically, into her. And she sort of walked with me through it, and so I'm very protective of her as well.”

Being The Ricardos premieres on Amazon Prime Video on December 21.

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