Aaron Sorkin Defends Decision to Cast Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball Despite "Low Expectations"

Aaron Sorkin had a surprising response to the backlash against Nicole Kidman portraying Lucille Ball in the upcoming biopic Being the Ricardos.

By Cydney Contreras Nov 12, 2021 2:37 AMTags

If you're expecting Nicole Kidman to look, speak and act like Lucille Ball in Being the Ricardos, you might as well adjust your expectations now.

Aaron Sorkin said as much in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, revealing that he told Nicole and Javier Bardem to forget what they knew about the I Love Lucy stars.

"In Zooming with Nicole and Javier and everyone else, I'd make it very clear to them that I am not looking for a physical or vocal impersonation of these people," Sorkin explained. "Leading up to the first rehearsal, I'd write to them every day, 'Just play the characters who are in the script.'"

Sorkin added that Nicole, who is Australian, prepared for the role by working with a voice coach, but he "wanted to relieve her of that."

All of Nicole Kidman's Most Haunting Performances

Regarding the backlash to casting Kidman, Sorkin said that he wasn't looking for just anyone to play Lucille, it had to be "someone who absolutely owns it." Additionally, he revealed that he didn't think it was "important" to find an actress that looked like the sitcom star.

"This was going to be a kind of tour de force performance," he insisted. "And then when Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem and J.K. Simmons and Nina Arianda say they want to do your movie, your casting search is over."

Backgrid/Getty Images

The West Wing writer acknowledged that fans wanted someone else, like Debra Messing, to portray the enigmatic actress, but Sorkin said, "I'm certain that when people see the movie, they'll leave feeling that Nicole has made a very solid case for herself, but moreover, I've found that you can really leverage low expectations."

However, it remains to be seen if fans will be satisfied with acting alone, especially when Will & Grace viewers had their hearts set on seeing Debra in the film. Valerie Bertinelli herself tweeted the actress "was robbed."

On Twitter, one fan said, "Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball makes ZERO SENSE in a world where Debra Messing exists."

John Lamparski/Getty Images

Debra hasn't publicly commented on the outrage, though she previously retweeted statements supporting her when Nicole's role was announced. 

People can see if Nicole did Lucille justice when Being the Ricardos premieres in theaters on Dec. 10, followed by its Prime Video release on Dec. 21.