The best biopics tell the story of important, complicated people with rich legacies — and at minimum, feature stars who look remotely similar to the people they’re portraying. Nicole Kidman is starring in a developing biopic about comedian and actress Lucille Ball, but the world’s first look at the Australian actress in the role has sparked an online debate about whether or not she’s the right fit for the first silver screen about the late television star.
Kidman will star in the forthcoming film Being the Ricardos as Ball, with Javier Bardem joining her as Desi Arnaz, the other half of the iconic Hollywood duo. The movie is currently in production, and Hollywood Life’s Twitter account shared a photo of the actress on set in her full costume, sporting Ball’s signature red hair and red lips.
"Nicole Kidman is the spitting image of Lucille Ball on the set of the comedian's biopic," tweeted the account.
Unfortunately, the internet generally doesn't agree with the assessment. The tweet launched a very passionate discussion, and many people expressed their confusion over the final look. Kidman is a recognized name in Hollywood with a resume a mile long, but the prospect of capturing Ball's full essence has many skeptical. Also, people just don't think they look alike — plus Debra Messing is literally right there.
But Ball's daughter Lucie Arnaz, who is serving as an executive producer on Being the Ricardos alongside her brother Desi Jr., has seen the internet chatter about Kidman's casting and isn't fazed whatsoever. Because the movie is focused the couple behind I Love Lucy rather than the popular American sitcom's antics, the ability to deliver an impactful performance is far more important than looking like the real stars. And we can trust Kidman and Bardem to deliver on the acting front.
"There seems to be a lot of discussion about Nicole Kidman [and people saying] it should be Debra Messing," Lucie said in a video shared this year. "I don't know, but here's the deal and what you should understand: We're not doing a remake of I Love Lucy. No one has to impersonate Lucy Ricardo [or do] any of the silly things. It's the story of Lucille Ball, my actual mother — not Lucy Ricardo — and her husband, Desi Arnaz, my dad — not Ricky Ricardo."
Being the Ricardos is reportedly set to focus on a week in the couple's lives, following them as they filmed I Love Lucy while also dealing with major professional and personal crises. Aaron Sorkin wrote the original screenplay and is directing, and Kidman and Bardem will be joined by J.K. Simmons, Nina Arianda, Tony Hale, Alia Shawkat, and Jake Lacy.
The biopic is still in production and thus has no official release date as of yet. But seeing as Being the Ricardos has both input and approval from Lucy's actual children, fans should rest assured that Kidman will do the actor's legacy justice.