‘Being the Ricardos’: Cate Blanchett Speaks Out on Passing on Role of Lucille Ball

by Suzanne Halliburton

Cate Blanchett could’ve portrayed Lucille Ball in Being the Ricardos. But she said no because another director was pursuing her.

And coincidentally, Nicole Kidman, another Academy Award winner from Australia, accepted the Lucy role in Being the Ricardos. So Aaron Sorkin, who wrote and directed the movie, couldn’t go wrong with his Aussie choice.

“It became the movie it needed to be,” Blanchett told Variety’s Awards Circuit Podcast. “Those things happen in the right way, at the right time. In the best possible way, you don’t always envisage the same thing; and then it goes on to become a different entity.”

So what was the exact reason Blanchett declined Being the Ricardos?

“When Francis calls, you just have to say yes,” Blanchett told the podcast. “Because you’re on the epic, life-changing adventure ride. You’re on that roller coaster. I’m ready for that.”

Blanchett’s Francis reference was to Francis Ford Coppola. The Academy Award-winning director is doing Megalopolis with an all-star cast. And while Being the Ricardos is a nod to the past, Coppola’s movie is present day. The summary plot: “An architect wants to rebuild New York City as a utopia following a devastating disaster.” There aren’t many other details known about the project other than casting speculation, which includes Michelle Pfeifer, Zendaya, Forest Whitaker and James Caan.

Kidman Had Same Philosophical Reaction in Taking Role in Being the Ricardos

Kidman has acknowledged that she wasn’t the first choice for Being the Ricardos. But she and Blanchett saw the decision in much the same way.

“Whoever gets something, that’s where it was meant to land,” Kidman told the New York Times.

Oscar Isaac, who played pilot Poe Dameron in the Star Wars reboot, also is in Megalopolis. There are reports that Sorkin was considering Isaac for the part of Desi Arnaz in Being the Ricardos. Although Isaac was born in Guatemala, his father was Cuban. Sorkin selected Javier Bardem for the role of Desi, although he received complaints that he should’ve picked a Cuban actor. Bardem is from Spain.

Javier Bardem and Nicole Kidman (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Kidman did a terrific job playing Lucy in Being the Ricardos. And as the awards circuit starts for 2022, she’s already picked up a major award. That was a Golden Globe for best actress in a drama. The Golden Globes didn’t have a ceremony this year, but announced the winners via Twitter.

It was Kidman’s sixth win among 17 nominations.

Both Kidman and Bardem Picked Up SAG Nominations

Bardem and Sorkin also were Golden Globe nominees.

The Screen Actor’s Guild also nominated both Kidman and Bardem for their roles in Being the Ricardos.

“It’s always a surprise and an honor,” Bardem told People. He won both an Oscar and a SAG for No Country for Old Men.

“There’s a substantive opinion of people that are liking or disliking something. This doesn’t mean you are better than anybody else. It’s just a lottery. Of course, you buy tickets for the lottery doing your work, but at the end of the day, it is about the taste of people that defines if you are nominated or not nominated.”

It looks like Sorkin made the correct casting choice for Being the Ricardos. Or as Blanchett said, it became the movie it needed to be.