Nicole Kidman on the challenges of playing TV icon Lucille Ball

"I am way out of my comfort zone right now," she said.

June 11, 2021, 1:40 PM

Nicole Kidman has tackled many roles over her career but says playing Lucille Ball in the upcoming biopic, "Being the Ricardos," has been challenging.

The film centers on one week in the production of the classic TV sitcom "I Love Lucy," during which Ball and her then-real-life husband Desi Arnaz -- played in the film by Javier Bardem -- faced a crisis that threatened both their careers and their marriage.

While chatting with comedian Chris Rock for Variety's "Actors on Actors" series, the Oscar-winning actress confessed, "I am way out of my comfort zone right now," adding, "I'm free-falling."

"The strange thing about Lucille Ball is that everyone thinks we’re remaking the 'I Love Lucy' show, and it’s so not that,” Kidman said. “It’s about Lucille and Desi and their relationship and their marriage. It’s very deep, actually."

Kidman, known mostly for her dramatic roles, told Rock, "I'd like to be funny. I'm never cast funny."

"Oh, you could be funny," Rock replied. "You're playing Lucille Ball. You better be funny," to which Kidman responded, "Lucille Ball is hopefully funny."

The 53-year-old Australian actress said she also had a tough time nailing Ball's accent.

"I've had to put in an enormous amount of time on Lucille Ball right now," she said, "because she has a very particular rhythm and way of speaking."

Ball and Arnaz wed in 1940 and played a married couple on "I Love Lucy," which aired for six seasons from 1951-1957.

They went on to reprise their roles on "The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour," a spinoff series of specials that lasted three seasons and ended in 1960, the year the couple divorced.

Their kids, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr., were made executive producers of "Being the Ricardos."