Nicole Kidman Talks About Becoming Lucille Ball
by Amy Harrington, Pop Culture Passionistas
Imagine being an actress and getting the offer to take on one of the most iconic roles in entertainment history — Lucille Ball. Even a film star like Nicole Kidman found the part in the upcoming Aaron Sorkin film Becoming the Ricardos to be daunting.
In a recent press conference, she talked about how she grappled with taking on the dual personas of the television legend:
"Initially when I said yes to it, I did not realize what I was saying yes to. I was saying yes to an
Aaron Sorkin script and a great opportunity. And I was like, 'Wow!' And it was in a pandemic
so it was like this is an extraordinary thing to sit on a Zoom with Aaron Sorkin and him to
say, 'Hey, I want to you to play Lucille Ball.' And having read the screenplay, I was like,
"Then it was like, maybe a week later, it hit me. And I was trying to work on just getting, just
the little baby steps into her voice and it was nowhere within reach. And I was like, 'Oh no,
what have I done? I wish I had the talent to do this but I don't. You know?'
"And so then it was like, 'Help.'
"And slowly, luckily I had a couple of months, so I could work on slowly, meticulously,
methodically, watching the show, listening to the voice, doing all of the preparation,
which is very unusual for me because a lot of times I'll start really inside. But the
inside of it was almost already there, just because I could relate to her, I could feel her.
It was so beautifully written.
"Then it was like, oh no, how do I actually create Lucille Ball.
"But Aaron was fantastic because when I freaked out, which I did, he's not as good on the
phone, Aaron, he's like, 'Yeah.' He wants to get off the phone. He's not a big talker like that.
"But he sent an email that was just basically, 'You've got this. You're just gonna have to take
it day by day. I don't want an impersonation. I want you to do the work that you can do, that
I know you will do. And I want you not to freak out, basically, because I believe you can do it.'
"And I would challenge him on that at different points throughout the thing, going, 'Uhhh.'
And he would never waiver. He was so consistent in his belief. And he was also like, 'I'm
not interested in...'
"And I'd be like begging for some sort of nose or chin. At one point I was like, I've got to
change my jaw. The jaw is different.
"He's like, 'I don't care.' I mean it was frustrating for him, I think, because he saw how he
wanted and it took me time to give over to that. And when I did, 'I went okay.'
"But in the process, I was able to work on the actual Lucy part of it which was all of the
[gestures]. I could hang my hat on that and go well I'm gonna have the hair and I'm gonna
have the lips and I'm gonna have all that [gestures]. And I can do all of this. And even though
it's a sliver of the movie, I'll have that. And then, out of Lucy Riccardo, came Lucille Ball.
"And Lucille Ball is very different to Lucy Riccardo. Lucille Ball created Lucy Riccardo."
Watch the official trailer here.
Being the Ricardos is available to stream now on Amazon Prime.