Being the Ricardos—cast, release date and everything you need to know about the new Lucille Ball biopic

The iconic I Love Lucy actress is getting the biopic treatment

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in I Love Lucy
(Image credit: CBS/Getty Images)

Lucy and Ricky are back… sort of. There’s a lot of explaining to do!

The iconic TV couple are returning to the screen as the story of their lives get told in a new biopic. Academy Award and Emmy award winning Nicole Kidman will be taking on the role of Lucille Ball, the comedienne, actress and businesswoman who played Lucy Ricardo in TV shows like I Love Lucy.

Lucille Ball was a pioneer in the industry. Not only was she a hugely popular actress, she also became the first woman to run a major television studio, Desilu Productions, which produced many popular television series, including Mission: Impossible and Star Trek.

Lucille Ball and Nicole Kidman

(Image credit: Silver Screen Collection/ Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Exploring the off-screen lives of Lucille Ball and her first husband Desi Arnaz, Aaron Sorkin, best known for creating The West Wing, has written the new production which promises to offer viewers a behind-the-scenes look into their tumultuous relationship.

Who is in the cast for Being the Ricardos?

Nicole Kidman isn’t the only Hollywood star involved in the movie.

Joining Nicole is Javier Bardem, who will play Lucille’s husband, Desi Arnaz. Javier is best known for his Oscar winning performance in No Country for Old Men.

Javier Bardem and Nicole Kidman as Ricky and Lucy in Being the Ricardos

(Image credit: Amazon)

The famous onscreen neighbors from I Love Lucy, Fred and Ethel Mertz, have also been cast.

J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) will portray William Frawley, who originally played Fred. Nina Arianda plays Vivian Vance, the original Ethel. Other cast members include Tony Hale (Veep) and Alia Shawkat (Search Party, Arrested Development).

Kidman told Variety she’s learned a lot about the real-life Lucille through her research. "I love Lucille, having looked now and delved into her," she said.

Kidman went on to praise Sorkin’s work, saying, "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. I didn't know any of this."

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz

(Image credit: Bettmann/Getty)

Some were critical of Nicole’s casting, doubting just how well she could become Lucille Ball, especially when other actresses like Debra Messing have a strong likeness to the late entertainment icon.

The couple's daughter Lucie Arnaz, who serves as an executive producer of the film alongside her brother Desi Arnaz, Jr., responded to these reactions in a Facebook video in January.

"Here’s the deal and what you should understand: We're not doing a remake of I Love Lucy," she said. "No one has to impersonate Lucy Ricardo [or do] any of the silly things. It's the story of Lucille Ball, my actual mother—not Lucy Ricardo—and her husband, Desi Arnaz, my dad—not Ricky Ricardo."

Being the Ricardos trailer 

The trailer for Being the Ricardos was released earlier this month, giving fans their first look at Nicole as Lucille.

When is Being the Ricardos released?

It will hit theaters December 10, and be available to stream on Amazon Prime December 21. 

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.

Having written for various print and online publications—ranging from national syndicates to niche magazines—Jack has written about nearly everything there is to write about, covering LGBTQ+ news, celebrity features, TV and film scoops, reviewing the latest theatre shows lighting up London’s West End and the most pressing of SEO based stories.