Skip to main content

Home Film Film News

Nicole Kidman considered quitting Lucille Ball film role after fan backlash

Some Ball fans felt that Kidman's appearance didn't suit the role

By Charlotte Krol

Nicole Kidman and Lucille Ball pose in a composite image
Nicole Kidman; Lucille Ball. (Picture: Wikimedia commons/Gage Skidmore; Wikimedia commons/National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, gift of Elsie M. Warnecke

Nicole Kidman has revealed that she considered quitting her role as Lucille Ball in the forthcoming biopic ‘Being The Ricardos’ due to backlash about her suitability from Ball fans.

The actor’s casting was criticised by many on social media who felt that her appearance wasn’t a close enough match to the late Hollywood comedian, whose life is explored in the film.

Kidman said in a new interview on Live with Kelly and Ryan: “When the reality of playing her hit me, I went, ‘What I have said yes to?’” To which I then went, ‘Oh no, I’m not right. Everyone thinks I’m not right, so I’m going to try to sidestep this.’”

Despite Kidman’s worries, director Aaron Sorkin made it clear that he was delighted with her casting and her ultimate performance. “The fact of the matter is when Nicole, as Lucille Ball, plays Lucy Ricardo, I think she does an incredible job of mimicking Lucy,” he told The Hollywood Reporter last month.

He added: “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.

“Let her be what she’s not allowed to be on TV in 1952 on CBS. Let her be a woman. Let her be sexy. You weren’t allowed to be sexy on TV.”

Kidman stars opposite Javier Bardem, who plays her husband Desi Arnaz, in the new film that is released in the US and other limited countries on December 10.

Lucille and Desi’s daughter Lucie Arnaz also threw support behind Kidman, praising the actor’s performance in a recorded message on Instagram after seeing the film. “It’s friggin’ amazing,” Lucie said. “That guy [Sorkin] made a great movie.”

‘Being The Ricardos’ documents personal accusations, political smear campaigns and cultural taboos aimed at Lucille and Desi who were once-married co-stars of the ’50s-’60s US sitcom ‘I Love Lucy’.

The film explores the couple’s complex romantic and professional relationship, taking viewers into the writers’ room and behind closed doors during a critical production week of their groundbreaking US sitcom.