In an interview that ran on Monday’s Today show, Nicole Kidman said that the criticism that circulated when her casting as Lucille Ball in Being the Ricardos was announced got to her. “I’m a human being, so there’s time when you go, ‘Gosh, maybe I’m not the right person for this, but that’s where having somebody like Aaron, who really said at the beginning, he was like, ‘I’m not wanting a perfect rendition or imitation of Lucy. No, no, no, no, no,’” she said.
If this sounds familiar, well, you’ve been paying attention to Kidman’s Ricardos press tour. Earlier this month, Jezebel wrote about Kidman’s attempt to abandon the role early on, as relayed by Kidman at a Ricardos screening: “I actually sent [writer/director] Aaron [Sorkin] an e-mail saying, ‘I think I’m actually the wrong person now. I know I said yes but I’m now saying. To which he said, ‘You don’t get to say no now!’ I’m really glad that he pushed me.”
During a Q&A during an earlier screening, in November, Kidman shared much of the same thing, per Variety: “I had massive trepidation about a month prior, and Aaron had to get on the phone and send me emails saying, ‘You’ve got this.’”
She told Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest earlier this month: “I went, ‘What have I said yes to?,’ to then which I went, ’Oh no, I’m not right. Everyone thinks I’m not right so I’m going to try and sidestep this.’ And the producer Todd Black and Aaron Sorkin were both like, ‘Absolutely not.’ Thank God! ‘Cause then I was so grateful. ‘Cause then I got to fall in love with her.”
To Reuters, she recently put it this way: “I’d said yes to the role. I then went, ‘Oh my gosh, maybe I’m not right,’” said Kidman. “(Sorkin) just believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.”
How about another? Here’s what she said to CineMovie: “Aaron was fantastic because when I freaked out, which I did…he sent an email that was basically, ‘You’ve got this. You’re just going to have to take this day by day. I don’t want an impersonation. I want you to do the work that you can do that I know you will do. And I want you not to freak out, because I believe you can do it.’ And I would challenge him on that at different points throughout the thing and he would never waver. He was so consistent in his belief.”
And to Extra: “I was lucky enough that Aaron Sorkin with this believed I could do it. He was like, ‘No you can do it.’ He said, ‘Just block everything out. Focus. Trust me.’ And I remember him saying to both of us, ‘I will not walk away, I will not leave the set any day unless I feel like I’ve got it.’ Well that’s like, ‘Ugh, thank you.’ ...The more he said, ‘You can do this,’ I’d be like, ‘OK, you really believe I can do this?’ And he’d be like, ‘You can do this.’ And when someone believes in you, it’s the same way that Desi believed in Lucille, he’s like, ‘You have it. I’m telling you, I just am gonna help you get there.’ And Aaron definitely did that. And then when we got it, he would go, ‘You got it. Hit it out of the park. You got it.’”
Well, that’s definitely a talking point. And yes, movie stars get asked the same questions as they go from outlet to outlet peddling their flicks (see Jamie Lee Curtis’s trauma narrative). Nonetheless, Kidman’s repeated story of finding strength in Sorkin reminds me of Lady Gaga’s famous, “There can be 100 people in the room and 99 don’t believe in you, and you just need one,” repeated beat during the promotion of A Star is Born. It’s beautiful to see someone else finding her own personal Bradley Cooper.