Image via Amazon Studios
The biopic film is set in 1952 and follows power couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz who faced personal and professional obstacles that threatened their careers, their relationship, and their hit television show I Love Lucy.
At the peak of its popularity, the show drew in 60 million viewers a week in the U.S. “I wasn’t aware of how big it was,” Bardem said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “When I really started digging into [Arnaz], the deeper I got, the more I knew how iconic [the show] was … it was like, ‘Shit.’”
“Shit, what did we do?” was Kidman’s similar response. “I got frightened.”
Kidman and Bardem joined forces and sent their agents to get them out of filming but producer Todd Black convinced them to stay. The actors then went to writer and director Aaron Sorkin where they begged him to push filming back a year. Sorkin then reached out to Amazon, the film’s distributor, but the corporation wasn’t interested in delaying the movie. Kidman remembers thinking, “Oh, no. We actually have to do this.”
Fans of I Love Lucy argued Kidman looked nothing like Ball and lacked the comedic talent required, with some calling for Debra Messing instead. Messing helped fuel the fire, posting on Twitter that she was available. Sorkin was also hit with backlash regarding the inaccurate casting choices but he stands by Kidman and Bardem as the right actors to play the role.
Even though Kidman and Bardem weren’t the obvious casting choices, both actors hold an Oscar to their name and are both more than capable of proving naysayers wrong. Kidman has already won over some skeptics but anyone else doubting her performance can watch Being the Ricardos which is now streaming on Amazon Prime.