Apparently it takes only a glimpse of dramatic actress Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball to sell viewers on her portrayal of the comedy legend in “Being the Ricardos.”
Kidman, whose casting as the “I Love Lucy” star has raised a lot of eyebrows, embodies the actress in Amazon Studios’ first trailer for Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming film. Released Tuesday, the preview pulls back the curtain on Ball’s life with husband Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem) as they are “threatened by shocking personal accusations, a political smear and cultural taboos.”
But really, don’t we all just want to see her in black and white, smashing grapes in a barrel, a reference to a beloved “I Love Lucy” episode? (She does exactly that, very briefly, at the end of the tease.)
Before that, though, the flame-haired tycoon — the first woman to run a major TV studio, Desilu Productions — makes it clear that she knows her worth and that the CBS Studio heads should too. Even if Kidman’s Ball isn’t seen much in the trailer, she’s very much heard.
“I am the biggest asset of the Columbia Broadcasting System portfolio. The biggest asset in the portfolio of Philip Morris Tobacco, Westinghouse. I get paid a fortune to do exactly what I love doing,” she says in the voiceover as behind-the-scenes drama unfolds.
“I work side by side with my husband, who is genuinely impressed by me. And all I have to do to keep it is kill for 36 weeks in a row. And then do it again the next year,” she adds.
Kidman as Ball reveals that she did the show so she and Arnaz could be together — and “had no idea it would be a hit.”
And it was. The hijinks-filled sitcom ran for six seasons from 1951 to 1957 and endeared new generations of viewers since then in syndication. But the backstage turmoil was far from the picturesque union she and Arnaz portayed on TV.
The uptempo trailer takes viewers in front of a live studio audience on the “I Love Lucy” soundstage, features Bardem playing the band leader at Ciro’s nightclub and teases news headlines about the couple’s marital woes. It also features a peek at J.K. Simmons and Nina Arianda as William Frawley and Vivian Vance (a.k.a. Fred and Ethel Mertz), respectively.
This take from director Sorkin — of “The West Wing,” “The Trial of the Chicago 7″ and “The Social Network” fame — promises “a revealing glimpse of the couple’s complex romantic and professional relationship,” according to the synopsis, and “takes audiences into the writers’ room, onto the soundstage and behind closed doors with Ball and Arnaz during one critical production week of their groundbreaking sitcom.”
“Being the Ricardos” hits theaters Dec. 10 and streams on Prime Video Dec. 21.