Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball—everything you need to know about new biopic Being the Ricardos

Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball has already got the most important seal of approval

Lucille Ball and Nicole Kidman, who is playing her in Being the Ricardos
(Image credit: (Image credit: Future//Image 1: PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive / Alamy Stock Photo// Image 2: Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images))

Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball might be set to become one of the Oscar-winning star’s stand-out performances, as the late actor’s daughter described the portrayal as “astounding”. 

Fans of Nicole Kidman might have already been delighted by the announcement of the Nine Perfect Strangers cast earlier this year, but the recent release of this Hulu thriller is not the only reason the actor’s got people talking. She is taking on another hugely significant role this year as Nicole plays Lucille Ball in Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming biopic, Being the Ricardos. It’s understood that the highly-anticipated new show will focus on Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball opposite Javier Bardem as her husband Desi Arnaz during a challenging time in both their personal and professional lives.

And Nicole has already secured one of the most important seals of approval of all. Opening up during a recent interview with Palm Springs Life, Lucille Ball’s daughter Lucie Arnaz revealed that she had visited the Being the Ricardos set for two days. 

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And it seems she liked what she saw, as Lucie described it as “extremely classy and first rate”, whilst praising the star-studded cast as “really great performers”.

But it was Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball that was the performance that earned perhaps the most prestigious comment from Lucie.

"Nicole did a spectacular job,” she declared. “The two days that I watched, though, were both little flashbacks, so she was playing Lucy in the late '30s and mid-'40s. She wasn't Lucy of Lucy Ricardo fame yet, so it was a trifle different.”

Vivian Vance and Lucille Ball in "I Love Lucy", The Christmas Special, 1956

(Image credit: PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive / Alamy Stock Photo)

She went on to add, "And I know she meant it to be, so it could feel different. But boy, what she did was astounding. She's got such poise and class."

With such a wonderful response from Lucie, fans might now be eagerly wondering when they can enjoy this upcoming biopic. Here we reveal all you need to know about Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball in Being the Ricardos...

What is Being the Ricardos about? 

Being the Ricardos will reportedly focus on the relationship between Lucille Ball, played by Nicole Kidman, and her husband Desi, played by fellow Hollywood actor Javier Bardem during a challenging point. According to Deadline, the film is set during a single production week of I Love Lucy, beginning with the Monday table read through to Friday filming in front of an audience. 

The publication reports that Being the Ricardos will see “Lucy and Desi face a crisis that could end their careers and another that could end their marriage”.  

Lucille Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz arrive at London Airport with their children Lucie and Desi Jr., 10th June 1959

(Image credit: Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz married in 1940 and went on to star in their hit sitcom, I Love Lucy, together as on-screen husband and wife Lucy and Ricky from 1951-1957, winning five Emmys. The couple went on to divorce three years later and this was one of the most high-profile American divorces at the time. However they’re understood to have remained friends throughout their lives and had two children together, Lucy and Desi Jr, 

What has Nicole Kidman said about playing Lucille Ball?

Nicole Kidman has already impressed Lucie Arnaz with her performance as Lucille Ball and it seems playing this brilliant actor has already given the Australian star new insight. During an past interview with Variety, Nicole shared how she went about getting into character as Lucille, revealing she’s “never cast funny” and would like to be funny in this role. 

“I’ve had to put in an enormous amount of time on Lucille Ball right now, because she has a very particular way of speaking,” she explained, reflecting on Lucille’s dialect. 

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“Lucille Ball is hopefully funny,” she went on to state, referencing her own performance. “The strange thing about Lucille Ball is that everyone thinks we’re remaking the ‘I Love Lucy’ show, and it’s so not that. It’s about Lucy and Desi and their relationship and their marriage. It’s very deep, actually.”

As she and interviewer Chris Rock discussed Lucille further, Nicole went on to share her admiration for all she achieved, explaining, “She was a trailblazer. She formed her production company. Desi was Cuban, and she had to fight to get him on the show.

Nicole Kidman attends the Gala for the Global Ocean

(Image credit: Photo by Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli/ Getty Images Getty Images for Fondation Prince Albert II)

"They 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,” she declared. 

This new insight comes after Nicole previously told the publication in an earlier interview about just how much she’d learned about Lucille during her research.

"I love Lucille, having looked now and delved into her," she said. "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."

Who’s in the Being the Ricardos cast?   

Alongside Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball will be Javier Bardem as her Desi Arnaz, though they aren’t the only talented members of the Being the Ricardos cast. Oscar-winner J.K. Simons will reportedly be playing William Frawley, who originally played Lucille and Desi's on-screen friend Fred Mertz in I Love Lucy. 

J. K. Simmons attends the premiere of STARZ's "Counterpart" at Director's Guild of America

(Image credit: Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for STARZ)

Whilst Nina Arianda is said to have been cast as Vivian Vance, who played Fred's wife Ethel Mertz. According to Harper’s Bazaar, other cast members include Tony Hale as I Love Lucy executive producer Jess Oppenheimer and Alia Shawkat, known for her role in Arrested Development, who will play Madelyn Pugh, writing partner on I Love Lucy.

What is the Being the Ricardos release date?

Sadly for fans who already can’t wait to see Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball, they’ll just have to be patient for a while longer. As reported by Harper’s Bazaar, Amazon has previously revealed that principle photography for Being the Ricardos had begun back in March. It’s thought that filming has now started, with paparazzi photos of Nicole as Lucille being glimpsed. 

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However, as production continues, the Being the Ricardos release date remains currently unknown. Though fans of Lucille Ball need not fear as whilst they might not be able to see her on-screen in the upcoming biopic right now, they can catch up on all six seasons of I Love Lucy on Hulu.

This comedy classic sees Lucille playing Lucy Ricardo, a scatter-brained housewife, married to Ricky, a bandleader at a nightclub. Throughout the show, Lucy comes up with a series of wild schemes, often roping in her best friends, Fred and Ethel Mertz. As one of television’s most loved characters over the years, Lucille’s performance is well worth a binge-watch.

If you already have a Hulu subscription, then things just got a whole lot easier for you to enjoy this binge-watchable show. This starts from $5.99 a month and you can also get a free trial for one month before you sign-up to see if Hulu's right for you.

If you’re outside of the US and don't have a Hulu subscription, you’ll need a VPN to watch I Love Lucy as you wait for Being the Ricardos.

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(Image credit: Future)

How to watch Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball in Being the Ricardos

For anyone wondering how to watch Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball in the upcoming biopic, it’s thought that Being the Ricardos could be released on Amazon Prime Video. Though the Being the Ricardos release date has not been officially confirmed yet, Harper’s Bazaar reports that Amazon Studios are behind this new movie. This has then led to speculation that Being the Ricardos could perhaps become available to stream on Amazon Prime Video at some point after it is released. 

Who else can’t wait to see Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball in this highly-anticipated biopic?

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use , Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!