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‘I am way out of my comfort zone’: Nicole Kidman opens up about playing Lucille Ball

People had their doubts when news broke that Nicole Kidman would be portraying comedy queen Lucille Ball

Nicole Kidman arrives at the 53rd annual CMA Awards.
Nicole Kidman arrives at the 53rd annual CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, in Nashville, Tennessee. Kidman is portraying Lucille Ball in the upcoming movie “Being the Ricardos.”
Associated Press

People had their doubts when news broke that Nicole Kidman would be portraying comedy queen Lucille Ball in the upcoming movie “Being the Ricardos.”

The casting choice drew a lot of criticism, with many questioning whether the actress could master the slapstick comedy that made Ball so unique, the Deseret News reported.

Kidman recently addressed some of that criticism, and opened up about taking on the iconic role.

“I am way out of my comfort zone right now,” she told comedian Chris Rock during a virtual chat for Variety. “I’d like to be funny. I’m never cast funny.”

But in portraying Ball, Kidman isn’t reenacting classic scenes from “I Love Lucy” like the chocolate factory or Vitameatavegamin. While “Being the Ricardos” does include comedy, the movie focuses more on the people who brought Lucy and Ricky Ricardo to life than it does the actual show.

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

Ball and Desi Arnaz’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz, has also responded to the backlash over the casting choice, saying that she doesn’t expect anyone to recreate “I Love Lucy.”

“It’s the story of Lucille Ball, my actual mother, not Lucy Ricardo, and her husband, Desi Arnaz, my dad, not Ricky Ricardo,” she said earlier this year, according to People. “There will be humor in the film, but it is a story of the two of them and how they met and what went right with finding the show, what went wrong, their relationship, their love affair.”

“We felt exploring that relationship could be an enlightening challenge,” Arnaz previously said in a statement, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “The casting choices have all been inspired.”

Kidman said she has put a lot of effort into portraying Ball, who she described as a “trailblazer.”

Ball was a leading lady in Hollywood, the eventual sole head of Desilu Productions who fought to get her Cuban husband on “I Love Lucy” and overruled her board of directors to take a chance on an unconventional sci-fi show called “Star Trek,” the Deseret News reported. She also encouraged producer Merv Griffin to hire Alex Trebek as the host of “Jeopardy!” The New York Times reported.

Directed by Aaron Sorkin (“Trial of the Chicago 7”), “Being the Ricardos” takes place during a tumultuous production week of “I Love Lucy,” when Lucy and Desi face crises that could be devastating for their careers and marriage, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

A release date has not yet been announced.