Nicole Kidman is channeling Lucille Ball for her latest buzzed-about role.
The Oscar winner, 53, stars as the I Love Lucy comedy icon in writer and director Aaron Sorkin’s biographical film Being the Ricardos, and photos of the star on set show her transformation as the actress.
Kidman is seen rocking a wavy, light orange hairstyle similar to Ball as she wraps a lengthy black coat over her costume in between takes.
Being the Ricardos is a biographical drama about Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz, who starred in the popular 1951 sitcom I Love Lucy. The two were married from 1940 and split in 1960.
The casting was criticized by some fans who believed Debra Messing should have played Ball because of their uncanny resemblance, while others took issue with the casting of Spanish actor Javier Bardem as Arnaz since he was Cuban-American.
Sorkin told Entertainment Tonight that casting Kidman and Bardem as the I Love Lucy stars was more about Ball and Arnaz as actors rather than their characters on I Love Lucy.
“I think that the people thought that we’ve cast them as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo,” Sorkin told ET. “The film takes place during a production week of I Love Lucy – a Monday table read to Friday audience taping, with a whole bunch of long flashbacks which are telling the story that got us here – and because there’s a table read, there’s rehearsals and then there’s tape night, we do see moments of them being Lucy and Ricky Ricardo.”
He continued, “But mostly they are playing Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. And they’re going to be fantastic. These are two of the greatest actors ever.”
The Big Little Lies star told Variety how she felt when she accepted the role of Ball in an interview in January.
“I was like, ‘Yeah, I would love to give it a go,'” she said. “With Aaron’s words and his direction and Javier… that’s kind of a wonderful prospect to, you know. But yikes, off we go. Give it a go. Try my best—see if I can do it.”
The actress also said she was excited to play the role after learning more about the comedian.
“She’s an amazing woman,” Kidman said. “I’m very excited for people to see what Aaron found out about her and the way he’s interpreted Desi and Lucy and the way that it’s so rich. I didn’t know any of this.”
Ball and Arnaz’s daughter Lucie Arnaz, 69, has played an active role in the stories portraying her late parents and posted a video to Facebook to address the Behind the Ricardos casting criticisms earlier this year.
“We are not doing a remake of I Love Lucy. No one has to impersonate Lucy Ricardo nor do the Vitameatavegamin routine, or the chocolate factory routine or any of the silly things,” she said. “It’s the story of Lucille Ball, my actual mother, not Lucy Ricardo, and her husband, Dezi Arnaz, my dad, not Ricky Ricardo.”
Lucie reassured fans that the film would have “humor” but also focus on the very real story of her parents as a couple and as people.
“There will be humor in the film, but it is a story of the two of them and how they met and what went right with finding the show, what went wrong, their relationship, their love affair,” she said.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tony Hale, Alia Shawkat, Clark Gregg and Jake Lacy are also set to star in the film, which does not have a release date yet.