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Aaron Sorkin knows he found the right person to play the legendary Lucille Ball.
The writer and director behind the upcoming Being the Ricardos, a drama about Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz, explained why he cast Nicole Kidman as the I Love Lucy star in a new interview with Entertainment Tonight. Kidman, 53, will star opposite Javier Bardem, 51, who will play Arnaz.
The casting was questioned by some fans, who felt maybe Debra Messing, who bears a striking resemblance to Ball, would better nail the comedic tones of I Love Lucy. Others criticized casting the Spain-born Bardem as Arnaz, who was Cuban-American.
But Sorkin said the casting was all about the actual actors, and not about their famous characters.
"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. We see moments from an episode of I Love Lucy."
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"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," Sorkin added.
Sorkin also gave a small tease of what the movie will actually follow.
"Lucy and Desi were madly in love with each other. Madly, madly in love with each other. They also often wanted to kill each other. There was very interesting friction in this relationship," he said. "There's also a big thing that a lot of people don't know about Lucille Ball, which gets dramatized in this. We start shooting in seven weeks and we're in prep now and the film will be out around this time next year."
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Ball and Arnaz's daughter, Lucie Arnaz, also defended Kidman's casting earlier this year in a video message shared on Facebook. Lucie has been an active participant in stories involving her famous parents, who died three years apart in the late '80s.
"Here's the deal. You should understand. 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."
"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 added.