Nicole Kidman Doubted Her Ability To Play Lucille Ball

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Most fans who disapproved of her casting claimed Nicole and Lucille look nothing alike.

Nicole plays the legendary comedian in Aaron Sorkin’s new movie about I Love Lucy‘s leading couple during a week of filming in the ’50s. It specifically focuses on Lucille’s offscreen relationship with her husband and costar, Desi Arnaz.

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People criticized Being the Ricardos for how it chose to cast both of its primary characters. In addition to those who felt Javier Bardem playing Desi was inappropriate, since Javier is Spanish while Desi was Cuban-American, many fans disapproved when it was announced that Nicole had landed the main role.

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Their disagreement largely centered around the Oscar winner’s appearance, with most critiques claiming Nicole doesn’t resemble Lucille and suggesting other actors would have been better suited to play her.

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Nicole previously opened up about the backlash while appearing on Live With Kelly and Ryan several weeks ago, and recalled it nearly causing her to quit Being the Ricardos altogether.

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The Big Little Lies star addressed the casting criticism further in a recent interview on The Today Show, where she admitted those negative comments actually led her to question whether she’d be able to successfully step into Lucille’s shoes onscreen.

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“I tried not to [listen to the criticism], but I’m a human being, so there’s time when you go, ‘Gosh, maybe I’m not the right person for this,'” she shared.

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“That’s where having somebody like Aaron, who really said at the beginning, he was like, ‘I’m not wanting a perfect rendition or imitation of Lucy. No, no, no, no, no.'”

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Nicole explained that the director instead envisioned her capturing Lucille’s essence, which she said she was able to do after connecting some of the sitcom star’s experiences with sexism and ageism in Hollywood to her own.

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“There’s a scene in [Being the Ricardos] where they say, ‘You’re 39, and that’s it. It’s kind of over for you.’ I know that feeling. I sort of had that,” said Nicole.

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“And it was like, OK. Where television suddenly opened a door for her, it opened a door for me,” she continued. “Around the same age, I was like, ‘Gosh, that’s kind of — I know that feeling really deeply.'”

You can check out Nicole’s full Today Show interview here. Being the Ricardos is now playing in theaters and will be available to stream on Amazon Prime Video starting tomorrow, Dec. 21.

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