We have Thoughts on the “Being the Ricardos” Teaser Trailer, with Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem

Posted on October 19, 2021

We’ve been waiting for this one to drop. When Aaron Sorkin announced that he was casting Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem as Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz at the height of the I Love Lucy years, we had some serious misgivings. We don’t necessarily think an actor needs to perfectly (or even closely) resemble the famous person they’re portraying in a biopic or series. We thought Michelle Williams in Fosse/Verdon did an astounding job of channeling Gwen Verdon and bringing her to life without looking or even sounding all that much like her. We’ve been arguing in favor of Kristen Stewart’s casting as Princess Diana in Spencer, knowing that she doesn’t possess the stature, natural accent, or facial similarities, because we feel like she’s well-prepared to explore the darker and more walled-off sides of the princess’s persona (and the rapturous reviews seem to bear that out). For a good portrayal of an iconic person to work, it’s much more about nailing the personality and mannerisms than it is about mimicking them precisely. Even so, we thought Kidman and Bardem were questionable choices, not least because the ages were off, or because Bardem is Spanish playing one of the most famous Cuban men of all time, or because Kidman’s precise diction and high-strung delicateness seemed like an especially poor fit for the tough-as-nails, chain-smoking businesswoman and former chorus girl that Lucille Ball was when the cameras were off. Well, the trailer’s out. You tell us:

 

 

 

 

Did they nail it or not?

We just can’t help noticing how much they avoid showing Kidman’s face here. This is a teaser trailer, so that kind of coyness isn’t unheard of, but they highlight practically every other cast member’s face so clearly that the split-second flashes of Kidman tend to stand out all the more, as if they were trying to obscure how little she resembles Ball.

 

 

Regardless, whether she looks like her or not truly isn’t the metric here. Kidman’s attempting a throatier vocal style, which is encouraging, but she still has that precise, clipped way of speaking, instead of Ball’s somewhat lazier, more cynical behind-the-scenes drawl. We think this is a great story to tell with a powerhouse cast behind it and it should be noted that Lucie Arnaz has given the film high marks for portraying her parents effectively (although we take that sort of thing with a grain of salt, since she would have every right and reason to want to lionize her parents), but if you take all the I Love Lucy-isms out of this trailer, it wouldn’t be all that easy to guess who Kidman and Bardem are supposed to be here. We want to love this, but we’re just not sold yet.

 

 

 

[Photo Credit: Amazon Studios – Video Credit: Amazon Prime Video/YouTube]

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