What’s it like to portray Lucille Ball? Nicole Kidman says she’s ‘free-falling’

A woman with curly hair sits at a window
Nicole Kidman, who’s playing Lucille Ball, says she’s “never cast funny.”
(Sunday Urban)

Nicole Kidman is currently “free-falling.”

The “Being the Ricardos” actor made that reveal in a conversation with comedian and “Fargo” star Chris Rock, published Thursday by Variety. In the film, Kidman plays Lucille Ball to Javier Bardem’s Desi Arnaz.

“I am way out of my comfort zone right now, Chris. I’m free-falling. ... I’d like to be funny. I’m never cast funny,” she said.

Not that she’s facing any kind of expectations. Like, for example, Rock’s very high expectations, which sparked Kidman’s out-of-the-comfort-zone response.

Since “Big Little Lies,” the Oscar winner has brought prestige to a medium eager for it — and inspired a wave of stories about affluent women on the verge.

Dec. 15, 2020

“Oh, my God. Lucille Ball has this thing. She could learn anything in a weekend,” he said. “So they would, like, write something on the show where she plays the tuba, and she would go, ‘I can’t play the tuba. Give me two days.’ She’s Mount Everest. Just one of the most talented people to ever roam the earth.”


No pressure at all.

Kidman felt the heat as soon as she was cast in the role. “I Love Lucy” fans on social media were quick to say that Debra Messing should play the comedy legend, especially given her on-target portrayal of the “Lucy” character doing the Vitameatavegamin commercial in an episode of “Will & Grace.” Messing herself tweeted “I’m available” after Kidman’s casting was announced.

“The strange thing about Lucille Ball is that everyone thinks we’re remaking the ‘I Love Lucy’ show, and it’s so not that,” said Kidman, 53. “It’s about Lucy and Desi and their relationship and their marriage. It’s very deep, actually.”

Debra Messing says she’s “available” to play Lucille Ball in “Being the Ricardos,” an Amazon Studios movie that’s reportedly about to cast Nicole Kidman.

Jan. 12, 2021

The Australian actress said she approaches each role “through feeling,” but she appreciates the technical aspects as well, considering them “homework.” Especially when she’s portraying a cultural icon like Ball.

At least there’s a safety net this time around.

“The great thing about an accent is you can always go and fix it in looping,” Kidman said. “So in an accent, I’ll put the time in. 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.”

Amazon Studios’ release date for “Being the Ricardos” has not been announced.