Watching Being the Ricardos, I felt sorry for Nicole Kidman. Yes, it was her responsibility to say “no” to that part, but I understood why she said yes to it – a script by Aaron Sorkin and the belief that playing Lucille Ball would be a great role for her. But holy sh-t, Sorkin did her no favors with the script or the direction. The hair and makeup people did her dirty too. The film is an utter embarrassment at every level, and it’s a terrible reflection of Kidman’s substantial talent. She just never should have been part of it. But here we are, still reading interviews from Kidman and Javier Bardem as they try to put a bow on this mess. Some highlights from Kidman’s interview in the Guardian:
On Being the Ricardos: “It’s about a creative and romantic relationship that doesn’t work out. But from it come some extraordinary things. And I love that. I love that it’s not a happy ending. This film says you can make an extraordinary relationship thrive and leave remnants of it that exist forever. Yeah, that’s really gorgeous. You can’t make people behave how you want them to, and sometimes you’re going to fall in love with someone who isn’t going to be the person you spend the rest of your life with. And I think that’s all very relatable. You may have kids with them. You may not, but they were very much in love.”
Whether all of that ^^ was about Tom Cruise: “Oh, my God, no, no. Absolutely not. No. I mean, that’s, honestly, so long ago that that isn’t in this equation. So no.” She is angry. “And I would ask not to be pigeonholed that way, either. It feels to me almost sexist, because I’m not sure anyone would say that to a man. And at some point, you go, ‘Give me my life. In its own right.’”
She retired after having Sunday Rose: “[I decided to] have my baby and sit on a farm. Until my mum said to me, ‘I don’t think you should just give up.’ I was quite convinced I could grow vegetables and be at home and be very satisfied with that, but was pushed quite substantially by my mum. Friends, too – I have friendships that have permeated my life… Those relationships are relevant. They’re the threads that pull you through, when people show up and go, ‘I know you and I believe in you’, and push you forward. Not always coming from a sense of confidence, like I know what I’m doing. Not at all. A lot of times I’m relying heavily on the people around to say, ‘You’ve got more in you.’”
She’s surprised by how much success she’s had in television: “I would never have thought television would be an avenue for growth for me. Television gives you a much stronger connection with an audience, because you’re in their homes. I had a far deeper response than I’d ever had, which just suddenly came hurtling towards me…”
She cries a lot: “But yeah, I cry. I try to keep a lid on that, but everything is deeply sad. There’s a huge melancholia, right? I mean, when you really study melancholy people, we’re very present. I have an enormous amount of that. I think a lot of people walk around with it too, don’t you?”
Whether she’s a movie star. “That term confuses me. Can you define it? It’s too cerebral for me. I can only go to what Stanley Kubrick would say to me, which was, ‘Nicole, you’re a character actress.’ Usually, I’m resistant to labels. There’s a new generation now, saying, ‘No, you don’t get to define me just this way.’ I’m hugely supportive of this. And you can also change. I love that.”
I’ve seen the headlines about how Kidman “clapped back” on the journalist from bringing up Tom Cruise… but it did honestly feel like Kidman was making a not-so-oblique reference to Cruise. Not only that, I think what she said about falling in love with someone knowing that it won’t be forever probably resonated with a lot of people who are in their second or third marriages, you know? Anyway, I like her TV work, and I think the format of episodic television suits her very well in this stage of her career. I would be very happy if she spent the next decade doing cool miniseries where she played mysterious rich bitches with secrets. That is her wheelhouse!! (Lucille Ball was not her wheelhouse).
Photos courtesy of Instar, Amazon Studios.