The ‘Being the Ricardos’ trailer edited around Nicole Kidman’s Lucille Ball

being the ricardos

In January, the main cast for Being the Ricardos was announced: Nicole Kidman playing Lucille Ball and Javier Bardem playing Desi Arnaz. The script was written by Aaron Sorkin, with the blessing and approval of Desi and Lucy’s children, and Sorkin has directed his own script. One of (arguably) the most important decisions for any director is casting. Sorkin just missed the mark completely with both of the primary roles, it’s not even funny. Not even the paparazzi photos from the set were fooling anyone – Kidman’s Lucille Ball drag just looked terrible. Well, I guess Amazon and Sorkin know that they’ve got a big dud on their hands. Amazon Studios just released the first teaser trailer and they barely show Kidman. It’s an editing masterclass!

To be clear, I don’t hate Nicole. I think she is still very talented and I would love to see her do more sh-t like The Undoing, where she plays crazy rich bitches who wander around cities in pretty coats. THAT is her wheelhouse, and the Botox works in her favor with those kinds of roles. In roles where she has to play a real life person – and not just that, one of the greatest comediennes of all time – she falls flat at this point. It also feels like she barely did any work for this! She’s doing next to nothing with her voice, she’s just trying to do a flat American accent (and failing). She just plopped on a dollar-store Halloween wig and thought that would be it.

Should I even start in on Javier Bardem? His accent work is bad too! Desi had a Cuban accent, which is different than Javier’s Spanish accent. And Javier looks NOTHING like Desi. This film is so messy, my God.

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Poster & screencaps courtesy of Amazon Studios.

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89 Responses to “The ‘Being the Ricardos’ trailer edited around Nicole Kidman’s Lucille Ball”

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  1. Alissa says:

    I really wish they’d stop having her do accent work. even her American accent has tons of Australian in it. she sounds absolutely nothing like Lucy.

    I was so distracted by her face not moving in The Undoing. this is just going to be awful

    • Jocelyn2 says:

      Agreed. Honestly it sounds like her “Russian accent” in 9 perfect strangers. It does not sound like lucy at all.

      Where is agatha when you need her!

      • I haven’t even watched the last episode of Nine Perfect Strangers,and really don’t know what was happening through out the series because her Russian accent was the worst most distracting thing, I could not believe how bad.

        Nobody give me any spoilers I think I may go get the book!

        She is not a good choice for Lucy,and I actually do really like Nicole.

    • SarahCS says:

      Ok I watched (listened really as they cut her face so effectively) and that voice/accent is just weird.

      • Jan90067 says:

        Lucy’s voice, like her personality, was *strong*. NK’s whispery, breathless voice just doesn’t cut it, at all. Her features are also too delicate, let alone her face can’t move!

        I realize this movie is about L & R *behind* the scenes of one weekend, and not Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, but still… I just don’t understand how Lucie and Desi, Jr. could sign off on this casting. It boggles the mind.

      • Truthiness says:

        I just couldn’t hear Lucille Ball in that voice! The sound and cadence are all wrong here. Lucille had a strident strong voice. Cmon Aaron, there are mimics in Hollywood. Was Aaron’s agreement with the family to make Lucille soft feminine and breathy to appear sexier than we thought?

    • TeamMeg says:

      That was possibly the worst voiceover in history! Was she falling asleep while recording it? I am so not watching this.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        What a waste of money, script and opportunities to properly represent one of the greatest Hollywood barn busters!! Desi created the multiple cameras in addition to other feature used today. Lucy was a dynamic comedian and her face told us what was happening without the sound.
        As much as NK can act with regards to other genres, playing an actual human being is not her strong suit obviously. As much as I love JB, he is not nailing the Cuban accent at all!! Maybe they should have scrapped what they had and started all over!! What a waste….

  2. Solidgolddancer says:

    The fact that they’ve edited around not showing her face worries me…

    • L4Frimaire says:

      It’s really jarring how little she actually resembles Lucille Ball, and Bardem looks nothing like Ricky Ricardo. Physically the contrast between her and Ball is so huge. Bardem may pull it off but will wait for the reviews. In general, Kidman has gone a bit overboard with the face work and the hammy acting. I found her face and bad accent so distracting in Nine Perfect Strangers that I couldn’t get through the first episode. Maybe will try later. The “Undoing” I liked but again her unmoving face was a bit distracting, but like Kaiser said, not out of character for that type of person she played.

  3. Amy Bee says:

    It does seem like they didn’t want the promo for this movie to be derailed by people talking about Nicole not looking like Lucy. And they should’ve cast an actor of Cuban descent to play Desi.

    • Chaine says:

      I honestly would be ok with her not looking exactly like Lucy, it’s that her face is so immobile and rubber looking that she can’t possibly get into the SPIRIT of Lucy whose expressive face was such a big part of her comedy…. All I could see of the tiny few second clip of Kidman in the trailer her ghastly attempt to make her face move.

      • SarahCS says:

        This is the issue, her face doesn’t move and Lucy was amazingly expressive. We recently re-watched Aquaman and I’d forgotten how bad it is.

      • minx says:

        Yes. Rami Malek, for example, didn’t exactly resemble Freddie Mercury but he captured his character. This isn’t that. NK can hardly move her face! When she plays an inscrutable character it’s slightly less noticeable, but no one would ever call Lucille Ball inscrutable. Seems like NK always took care of her skin, I don’t why she thinks she has to Botox the bejeezuz out of it. She’s an actress who can barely emote. And her accents are usually cringeworthy.

    • aftershocks says:

      Yeah, I don’t understand the casting. Plus, does this take place during the later years of their show and their marriage? Both Bardem and Kidman are older actors.

      There are plenty of other established male actors of Cuban descent whom they could have considered, including Andy Garcia, and Oscar Nunez (though they both might be too old now).

      Also, there are plenty of well-established natural red-haired American female actors who could have better portrayed Lucy, including Jessica Chastain, Julianne Moore, Debra Messing, Amy Adams, and Bryce Dallas Howard, to name a few.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        @ aftershocks, I agree, and I love Andy Garcia!! He is so fakakta hot!!! As well as choosing a female lead that would have shot Lucy’s portrayal out of the park, like Jessica Chastain who has always delivered in all of her movies, to me. Or Debra Messing for that matter.
        They should have had you @ aftershocks be a casting agent as you have pointed out many more people that were more suited for the roles.

  4. Miranda says:

    Sorkin hired a woman who is arguably Hollywood’s most notorious Botox user to play a woman who was famous for her exaggerated facial expressions. What the hell.

    • Merricat says:

      Precisely.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      this was my exact reaction when Kidman was first cast.

      he should have cast Debra Messing. she was the obvious choice. she resembles her, she’s got a very expressive face, she had the mannerisms and she’s a good comedic actress.

      I remember when I first started watching Will & Grace, I made note of the similarities.

      • Lightpurple says:

        This movie is NOT a comedy.

      • Trillion says:

        Debra Messing is the obvious choice!

      • Jan90067 says:

        Even Fran Drescher, who did a bit of “I Love Lucy” on her “The Nanny” show, did a plausible Lucy (Fran credits Lucy as her role model). Messing did a “Will and Grace” as Lucy and she was great. She looks so much like her. It’d been a much better choice.

        Wonder if it was a bit of “Star F***ing” cache in casting as far as Lucy’s kids went. They wanted the Staaaaahhhhh power of NK and JB, and not just a “TV actress” like Messing.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        who cares if it’s a comedy? there will be a need for comedic timing when doing the I Love Lucy scenes. and that was only one of the items I listed for why she should have been cast.

        and Messing can do drama, too. she’s a better choice than Kidman for this role, hands down.

        @Jan I agree on the “just a TV actress” thing. which is stupid. Even Leo D got his start on TV.

      • olliesmom says:

        Yes, I was thinking Debra Messing would have been perfect. And she already has played Lucy for an episode during the reboot season of Will and Grace where they actually did a Lucy episode, so we know that she can do it and do it well.

        The “just a tv star” thing is so over as evidence with many “movie stars” doing television now.

      • aftershocks says:

        @WhatWhat said:
        “… he should have cast Debra Messing. she was the obvious choice. she resembles her, she’s got a very expressive face, she had the mannerisms and she’s a good comedic actress.”

        ^^ +1 Exactly! What a missed opportunity to make a better film. Kidman was miscast with Jude Law in a movie years ago about the American Civil War. There are more than enough skilled American actors to portray fictional and historical American characters!

    • Dilettante says:

      Should’ve cast Kate Middleton

      • BothSidesNow says:

        🤣🤣🤣. Her face wouldn’t have moved either!!

      • Sue E Generis says:

        Agreed. She is always very keen and facial expressions in photographs always appear to be parodying an epileptic fit. She is amusing.

  5. Yup, Me says:

    Oh man, I’m already embarrassed for her just looking at her open mouthed “crush the grapes” pics. Just because you get the script and the offer doesn’t mean you have to say yes, Nicole.

    • Jezz says:

      I agree. The real grapes photo is just plain funny! And the one with Nicole looks, like she’s cold or something. Lucy had “it”, and the only goofball who could play her would have been Grace (Deb Messing). But they wanted a bigger star. Backfire.

    • Eurydice says:

      Yes, Lucy didn’t just drop her jaw like a ventriloquist’s dummy, she raised her eyebrows, furrowed her brow – it was a complete external emotion.

  6. Lady Baden-Baden says:

    I dunno – maybe we should wait and see how it turns out before trashing it. Sorkin is always interesting, IMO. And I imagine that trailer was designed as a tease, rather than a way to edit around Kidman. They know a full reveal would be the ‘money shot’. Or they were hoping to get people to focus on the film and avoid the whole “she doesn’t look anything like Lucille Ball! How dare they!” craziness.

    Could be wrong, of course. Could be a big old mess. But I’ll probably check it out.

    • WithTheAmerican says:

      I agree, Sorkin knows what he’s doing and Nicole is great at playing the inner fragile feelings of a person. This is about Lucille as a woman not Lucy, so she doesn’t need to be a comedienne.

      I will reserve judgement.

    • Lightpurple says:

      Agreed. People are making judgments based on what they think this movie should be, not what it actually is. This is a film about a woman stepping out of a bad marriage to become a Hollywood power player based on her own strong business and negotiation skills, not a comic farce. Lucille Ball was not taking pratfalls or making exaggerated facial expressions while negotiating the creation of her production company.

      • Twin falls says:

        +1

      • Becks1 says:

        I completely understand what this movie is supposed to be, I still don’t think that Nicole Kidman at this point can pull it off.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        I’m with you, Becks1. Doesn’t really matter what this movie is supposed to be, Kidman is all wrong for the part.

        she is…or was, anyway…a good actress. I thought she was OUTSTANDING in To Die For, and The Others, but now her immovable face and her worm-lip are just no bueno.

      • Lightpurple says:

        @becks1, I do understand the concerns about Nicole’s immovable face to some degree and I think Jessica Chastain would have been a perfect choice for that reason.

      • Renee says:

        Exactly Lightpurple! Lucy isn’t doing physical over the top comedy while she was negotiating with corporations behind the scenes. This movie isn’t supposed to be a re-enactment of her series but a weekend in her real life.
        I’m withholding judgement until I see the finished product.

    • aftershocks says:

      Both Kidman and Bardem are miscast @LadyBaden-Baden. Nothing Sorkin has done with the script can change miscast main characters.

      Hollywood should stop with the overdone vanity projects for long-in-the-tooth, full of themselves A-list stars.

      • Lady Baden-Baden says:

        Kidman and Barden are miscast in your opinion. I will wait to see the final product before I agree or disagree with you.

  7. cabooklover says:

    I hated watching the trailer, her voice just sounded like Nicole. I didn’t get Lucy vibes AT ALL, and I like Nicole!

  8. Sparkles says:

    I hateeeeeee this casting. Absolutely hateeeeee it. Just awful and cringe. Debra Messing and Oscar Isaac (I think he’s actually of Cuban descent) would’ve been fantastic in these roles.

    • Veronika says:

      I think Oscar Isaac is Guatemalan?
      I would’ve preferred Bobby Cannavale for Desi. And I agree with other posters that Debra Messing would’ve been perfect!

    • Vavavoom says:

      I like Canavale too! I also wondered about Jaime Camil, even though he isn’t Cuban. He’s so pretty and charming, like Desi was.

  9. Becks1 says:

    So, I fully get that this is about Lucy and Desi, the people, and not Lucy and Desi as they were on the TV show, so from that angle, someone like Nicole Kidman could work. I’m not even that bothered by how much they look like Lucy and Desi because that’s not the point of a biopic, per se. They weren’t hiring Nicole Kidman to be a comedienne, they were hiring her to be Lucille Ball, off screen.

    But a biopic IS about acting, and at this point, Nicole can’t really act. That’s why she was so good in the Undoing – she could make the botox work in the role – but she can’t really move her face anymore, and it’s going to be a problem for a role like this, when Lucille Ball had such an expressive face. It makes me sad bc she was one of my favorite actresses for a long time, and I think she used to be so good, but her face is frozen now and it definitely affects her acting.

    • Eurydice says:

      To me, the thing is that Lucy and Desi had physical presence and energy even off the screen. Desi was all about music and rhythm – his band played with Xavier Cugat, he was Miami Latin conga drums and conga lines, and he continued that even when working as an actor. It’s not like he came home from work and turned into Tom Hanks or something. Even when exploring serious and painful moments, the internal energy doesn’t go away. I just don’t see that from either Kidman or Bardem.

    • Merricat says:

      @Becks, yes, as an actor, your face is one of the main tools in the toolbox. It’s a shame.

  10. FHMom says:

    Nobody should ever take on Lucille Ball. Nobody can do her justice.

  11. Kathy Kack says:

    Debra Messing would have been SO MUCH BETTER

  12. StellainNH says:

    I couldn’t stand Undoing. I really couldn’t get beyond Kidman’s frozen face. This will be a hard pass for me.

  13. Lola says:

    It would need to be someone very handsome to play Desi, I’m sorry. Anything else does not work no matter who.

  14. Donna Cipolla says:

    I’m shocked by her voice. Lucy’s voice was high. She sounds & looks nothing like her. They should have went with lesser known actors who actually fit the parts.

    • 2lazy4username says:

      I don’t know what time period this movie represents, but her voice was much deeper as she got older, and I’m thinking that is what Kidman is trying to capture. Lucille Ball was a heavy smoker for many, many years.

  15. Size Does Matter says:

    The trailer is like a Spielberg movie where he never actually shows you the monster.

  16. Monica says:

    WhyTF was this movie even made? Money laundering???

  17. Case says:

    Oh lord. I actually really like Nicole as an actress most of the time, but she’s completely lost any ability she possessed to do accent work. It’s really bad all the time now. I spent half of The Undoing wondering if she was supposed to be Australian or if I was just hearing things.

    I like the look of the film from the trailer but I’m…skeptical. You know who could’ve been really good in this role? Kathryn Hahn.

  18. Mimi says:

    When I saw the grapes scene I got excited 😅 I’m def gonna watch

  19. BringMePizza says:

    Wow. I feel embarrassed for everyone involved in this project.

  20. Gail says:

    I’m not worried at all that they don’t particularly resemble Lucy and Ricky. If the script is good, of the acting is good, I’m perfectly capable with being entertained. I’d rather this than a bunch of prosthetics that distract from the performance. It’s a drama, not a comedy. Relax.

    • Eurydice says:

      Even in drama, Lucy’s face moved. And Desi’s entire body danced. This is part of who they were as people, not just performers – casting that doesn’t convey that part of the characters is telling an incomplete story.

  21. Lala11_7 says:

    Since Nicole/Javier/Aaron have been pulling it off for decades…I will reserve judgment to see what they fully put on screen….and I can’t wait because it is a FASCINATING story…how she set the infrastructure for television production AND got Star Trek on the air? WOW❣

  22. Leah says:

    Rachel Brosnahan could have played Lucy very well, too, imo.

  23. lena horne says:

    im looking forward to it and think it will be good. Hard to tell from trailers.

  24. Squints says:

    I hope she can pull it off.

  25. Emma says:

    Oh dear. This is reminding me not only of Bewitched but also the Grace Kelly biopic Nicole Kidman did. Two major duds. Nicole has had hits and misses in this area (she was widely praised for the role of Virginia Woolf, though I personally didn’t like that portrayal).

    I have to admit I enjoyed this trailer — Lucille Ball had such a compelling story.

  26. Granger says:

    I just finished Nine Perfect Strangers, and I was so disappointed with Nicole’s acting, and her accent. Her face Does. Not. Move. I was disappointed with the whole show, frankly, but I thought she was the weakest part, and I say this as someone who’s a fan, and once thought of Nicole as a really great actor. I find she’s become more one-dimensional over the years, and although the plastic surgery probably has a lot to do with that, I don’t think she takes as many risks, either.

    So who knows? Maybe this movie will prove that she’s still got “it.”

  27. AmB says:

    Moira Rose called. She wants her wig back.

  28. North of Boston says:

    Kathryn Hahn was right there!

    She would have been awesome. She brings the comic expressiveness, the steeliness and could nail the voice and the energy.

  29. Ladykatan says:

    Bobby Cannavale would have been a perfect Desi. He’s Cuban, the right age, and is a dead ringer for Arnez. As for Lucy.. I don’t think that Debra Messing would be my first choice. But a much better choice than Kidman. I’d love Jessica Chastain. I think she can do anything.. she’s incredible.

  30. Normades says:

    Shoulda been Amy Adams

  31. Jen says:

    Debra Messing DEFINITELY wanted it. She was pretty vocal about it on Twitter. No idea why this went to Nicole.

  32. Boxy Lady says:

    Oh I’m pretty sure Debra Messing wanted it. I think she made some comments about it on social media. But I don’t think she was even considered. And Lucie Arnaz has maintained that the film is about how her parents really were and not how they acted on screen. I guess we’ll see how it turns out.

  33. Lightpurple says:

    Messing heavily campaigned for it on Twitter and then was nasty when she didn’t get it. But she and others missed the point of this film. The movie is about Lucy the woman who came out of a bad marriage as one of television’s most powerful producers, not a recreation of I Love Lucy skits. It’s a drama, not a comedy and the family did not want Debra Messing.

  34. LillyfromLillooet says:

    There are two sides of comedians; the hard-as-nails survival side, and the wounded funny person. This voiceover promo makes it clear that Sorkin wanted to show the steely, in control side of Lucille Ball who is not tragic, knows her value, and then throws a switch and plays wacky sad hapless Lucy Ricardo. I’m sure this take on Ball resonated with the kids, as did putting forward a mega movie star to play their mom.

    But…uh, meh.

    Messing’s tv work is a successor to Ball’s television comedies; and it was have been beyond satisfying to see her in this role. She has the small screen chops and bigness that could have told this story.

  35. olliesmom says:

    The Bewitched movie was awful. They owed the wonderful original cast better than that.

  36. Merricat says:

    Yes. That’s when she really lost me, with the nastiness.

  37. LightPurple says:

    @Merricat, she damaged herself as far as I’m concerned. I know I lost all respect for her with her antics and I’m pretty sure others feel the same. The endless posting of herself in Lucy garb in response to members of the production company posting about the purpose of the film was insulting to them and to Lucille Ball herself. We can watch episodes of the show to see Lucy’s comedy, we don’t need Debra Messing doing a Lucy impression. That’s not what this movie is.

  38. BothSidesNow says:

    @ LightPurple, that is something I did not know about!! Thank you pointing out the antics that Messing played. I don’t think that goes over well in Hollywood, or anywhere for that matter, to publicly express your darkest feelings. Especially if she wants to be considered for future acting gigs. That’s a great way to ruin your career, I would imagine. You shouldn’t publicly display your anger or disappointment online, no matter how much you wanted it or thought you deserved it. That leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouths.

  39. Jan90067 says:

    Messing has done credible work in dramas. She does have the chops. I think she could’ve done credit to both sides of Lucy. But, even though I’m a Super Lucy Fan, they didn’t ask my opinion ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  40. Truthiness says:

    I swear the talent that comes to my mind is Demi Moore, don’t @ me. She has that raw deep voice and she willingly goes chameleon for a role. She has a decent range and she has been a mimic while on chat shows