If director Aaron Sorkin hoped to keep Nicole Kidman's look as Lucille Ball a secret until the first trailer for Being the Ricardos comes out, the paparazzi are not privy to this plan. More photos from the set surfaced this week, showing Kidman in full costume as the I Love Lucy star. The film also stars Javier Bardem as Ball's husband, Desi Arnaz, who co-starred on I Love Lucy as Ricky Ricardo.
The film's production is now in Long Beach, California. The photos from Tuesday, published at HollywoodLife, show Kidman, 53, wearing her red hair in curls in an effort to look like Ball. Kidman also stayed bundled up in a black puffy jacket, which she will likely not be wearing in the film. Bardem, 52, wore a white tuxedo jacket, similar to one Arnaz might have work on the show.
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Being the Ricardos is Sorkin's follow-up to the Oscar-nominated The Trial of the Chicago 7. Sorkin wrote the script, which is centered on a week of filming I Love Lucy when Ball and Arnaz are faced with a crisis that could ruin their careers and marriage. The rest of the cast features J.K. Simmons and Nina Arianda as I Love Lucy stars William Frawley and Vivian Vance. Tony Hale, Alia Shawkat, and Jake Lacy play I Love Lucy writers Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, and Bob Carroll Jr. It will be released by Amazon Studios.
While no one can deny Kidman's talents, her casting as Ball has caused controversy among the television legend's fans because Kidman is not exactly known for playing comedy. The Oscar-winner defended taking the role in a Variety interview. "I was like, ‘Yeah, I would love to give it a go,’" the Big Little Lies star said. "With Aaron’s words and his direction and Javier … that’s kind of a wonderful prospect to, you know. But yikes, off we go. Give it a go. Try my best — see if I can do it."
For his part, Sorkin told Entertainment Tonight that he didn't cast Ball and Bardem to play Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. He cast them to play Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. "The film takes place during a production week of I Love Lucy — a Monday table read for Friday audience taping, with a whole bunch of long flashbacks which are telling the story that go us here — and because there's a table read, there's rehearsals and then there's tape night, we do see moments of them being Lucy and Ricky Ricardo," Sorkin explained. "We see moments from an episode of I Love Lucy. But mostly they are playing Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. And they're going to be fantastic. These are two of the greatest actors ever."
The film also earned a really important endorsement from Lucie Arnaz, the daughter of Ball and Arnaz. During a Facebook video, Lucie noted that Being the Ricardos is a drama, not a comedy in the vein of I Love Lucy. "It's not the whole story. It's not a biopic from cradle to grave," Lucie said. "It is a two-hour feature film about these two people and some of the remarkable things they lived through."