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Nicole Kidman Tried to Back Out of Playing Lucille Ball in Biopic

  • Nicole Kidman admitted she tried to back out of playing Lucille Ball after accepting the part.
  • Aaron Sorkin, the director of “Being the Ricardos,” would not accept her resignation. 
  • Kidman said that one of the hardest elements to master was Ball’s Lucy voice.

Nicole Kidman revealed she became just as wary about playing comedy icon Lucille Ball in Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming film “Being the Ricardos” as the public was about the casting choice.

“I actually sent Aaron an email saying, ‘I think I’m actually the wrong person now. I know I said “yes,” but I’m now saying “no,”” the “Bombshell” actor admitted after a screening of the film for New York Screen Actors Guild Award voters in Manhattan on Thursday, per New York Post

Kidman said that Sorkin refused to accept her resignation in his reply to her. “He said, ‘You don’t get to say “no” now!'” she recalled.

Her choice to continue on ultimately rewarded her, as there is already Oscar buzz around the film and Kidman’s performance in it. “I’m really glad that he pushed me,” she added.

Aaron Sorkin and Nicole Kidman

Writer/director Aaron Sorkin and actor Nicole Kidman from Amazon Studios’ “Being the Ricardos” speak onstage during Deadline’s The Contenders.

Rich Polk/Getty Images for Deadline

Even though Kidman is an Oscar winner and four-time nominee, her initial fear is understandable. There are many differences between Ball and Lucy Ricardo, the iconic character Ball played in “I Love Lucy.” 

For example, to play the part, Kidman had to master two voices — Lucy Ricardo’s on-screen silly one and Lucille Ball’s deeper, smokey tone. 

“Vocally, I started with the Lucy voice, and it was so far out of reach that it was terrifying,” she said. Kidman explained that she’d practice it for her husband, musician Keith Urban, but his reaction didn’t exactly ease her nerves.

“And I’d do it for my husband, who has a great ear, cause he’s a musician, and he’d be, like, ‘Hmmmm,'” she continued.

Lucille Ball and Nicole Kidman

Lucille Ball and Nicole Kidman.

Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images; Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Kidman admitted that Urban’s reaction to her developing the Lucy voice was “kinda scary” to hear. 

The “Big Little Lies” actress said she began exploring the role through Lucy’s grape-stomping scene in the episode titled “Lucy’s Italian Movie,” and “loved it” though she’s not known to be a comedic actress. “I loved doing the clown work and all of that,” Kidman said. 

“Being the Ricardos” premieres in select theaters on December 10 and is available to stream on Amazon Prime on  December 21.

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