Being the Ricardos will have a lot of explaining to do! The film offers a behind-the-scenes look at what it was like making the classic sitcom I Love Lucy — but it’s not really about the TV series.
“Everyone thinks we’re remaking the I Love Lucy show, and it’s so not that,” Nicole Kidman, who plays the late Lucille Ball in Being the Ricardos, told Variety in June. “It’s about Lucy and Desi [Arnaz] and their relationship and their marriage. It’s very deep, actually.”
Ball and Arnaz tied the knot in 1940 before going on to star in the legendary series, which ran from 1951 to 1957. Three years after I Love Lucy ended, the couple were divorced.
The movie, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, takes viewers “into the writer’s room, onto the soundstage and behind closed doors with Ball and Arnaz during one critical production week of their groundbreaking sitcom I Love Lucy,” during which they are “threatened by shocking personal accusations, a political smear and cultural taboos,” according to the film’s summary.
In January, the Practical Magic actress teased that there would still be plenty for even the biggest I Love Lucy fans to learn from the film, which also stars Javier Bardem as Arnaz. “[I’m] very excited for people to see what Aaron found out about her and the way he’s interpreted Desi and Lucy and the way that it’s so rich,” Kidman told Variety. “I didn’t know any of this.”
While the movie explores a chaotic time in Ball’s career and her relationship with her then-husband, who died in 1986, Kidman made sure the film also paid tribute to the comedy icon, who passed away in 1989 after suffering from an aneurysm.
“She was a trailblazer. She formed her production company. Desi was Cuban, and she had to fight to get him on the show,” the Big Little Lies alum told Chris Rock for Variety’s Actors on Actors series in June. “[Ball and Arnaz] had just so many things in their marriage that are so relevant today, and what she was also dealing with in terms of everything that artists deal with, where you’re up against big corporations. And you’re like, ‘No, this is art.’”
In the same interview, Kidman admitted that the role forced her “out of my comfort zone” since she’s “never cast [as] funny.” However, according to Ball’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz, she seems to have a natural gift for comedy.
“Nicole did a spectacular job,” Lucie told Palm Springs Life in August after visiting the film’s set. “Boy, what she did was astounding. She’s got such poise and class.”
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