‘Being the Ricardos’: Nicole Kidman Reveals How She Transformed Into ‘I Love Lucy’s Lucille Ball

by Madison Miller

Playing Lucille Ball is the role of a lifetime.

For drama star Nicole Kidman, it also meant going through quite the transformation in order to look like the iconic ’50s sitcom star in the upcoming biopic film “Being the Ricardos.”

When she was first cast as Ball, fans of “I Love Lucy” were hesitant regarding that casting choice. That meant that Kidman’s performance and transformation had to be as convincing as possible.

Getting Into the Role of Lucille Ball

Not only did she have to change her hair to match those iconic red-orange curls and her outfit to resemble a scene out of “I Love Lucy,” but a lot more went into playing Ball.

“[It was a] crazy amount of hours fastidiously working on the physicality, on the voice, on the movements, just learning the words,” Kidman said to The Daily Telegraph regarding her role in “Being the Ricardos.” She stars alongside Javier Bardem as Desi Arnaz in the film.

Kidman also revealed that she didn’t realize the role would be this intense before she agreed to sign on. The actor is already getting a fair amount of Oscar buzz from the movie role. It came out on December 10 in theaters and will then be available to stream on December 21 on Amazon Prime.

The movie focuses on a week of filming “I Love Lucy” behind the scenes, which will also include a few memorable scenes from the show. Other than that, “Being the Ricardos” will focus on a professional issue as well as marital issues that happened between Arnaz and Ball.

One of the scenes filmed was the iconic grape stomping moment from the sitcom. While it’s a hard moment to take on, Kidman did her research. She very carefully watched the scene and analyzed Ball’s expressions and her movements.

“I studied them and learned them. It went into my body and my memory … was my obsession to get it absolutely accurate. It was his obsession to have this human being portrayed – what’s behind the creation of Lucy Ricardo and who is the woman behind this character?” Kidman said, according to Variety.

Aaron Sorkin on Kidman’s Role in ‘Being the Ricardos’

Although Nicole Kidman has gotten a bit of casting backlash, director Aaron Sorkin has been her biggest cheerleader throughout it all.

She almost dropped the role after all the negative responses to her as Ball, but Sorkin convinced her to stay. Fans mostly just thought that Kidman did not have a strong enough resemblance to Lucille Ball to play her in “Being the Ricardos.”

Sorkin also argued that the Ball he was showing the world wasn’t what people saw in the sitcom. He instead was showing the world the laid back and free woman outside of the TV show.

“So, finding an actress who looked like Lucille Ball wasn’t important to me. Especially because I was excited by the idea that Lucille Ball doesn’t look like Lucille Ball — and that every time we’re seeing Lucille Ball not as Lucy Ricardo, she should both literally and metaphorically let her hair down … Be what she’s not allowed to be on TV in 1952 on CBS. Let her be a woman. Let her be sexy,” Sorkin said to The Hollywood Reporter.