Nicole Kidman was committed to taking on the late queen of comedy.
The Academy Award winner said she became obsessive when it came to analyzing the episodes from the classic TV series to ensure she perfected Ball’s movements on screen.
“I studied them and learned them,” said the 54-year-old, as quoted by People magazine. “It went into my body and memory.”
“It was my obsession to get it absolutely accurate,” she continued. “It was [writer/director Aaron Sorkin’s] obsession to have this human being portrayed – what’s behind the creation of Lucy Ricardo and who is the woman behind this character?”
Kidman pointed out how they filmed the iconic grape-stomping scene from the Season 5 episode of “Lucy’s Italian Movie.” The star said they used real grapes on set and she would have happily filmed for much longer because she was having so much fun.
“Being the Ricardos” is set during a week of filming “I Love Lucy” as Ball and her husband Desi Arnaz, played by Javier Bardem, are “threatened by shocking personal accusations, a political smear, and cultural taboos.” The couple was married in 1940 and called it quits in 1960.
Arnaz passed away in 1986 at age 69. Ball died in 1989 at age 77.
In August, the couple’s daughter Lucie Arnaz praised Kidman and Bardem, 52, as “really great performers” who are “extremely classy and first-rate” when it came to depicting her parents. She particularly applauded Kidman for her “spectacular job.”
“The two days I watched, though, were both little flashbacks, so [Nicole] was playing Lucy in the late ‘30s and mid-‘40s,” the 70-year-old told Palm Springs Life. “She wasn’t Lucy of Lucy Ricardo fame yet, so it was a trifle different.”
“And I know she meant it to be, so it could feel different,” Arnaz continued. “But boy, what she did was astounding. She’s got such poise and class.”
The fellow performer said she’s aware that many of her mother’s fans were surprised that Kidman was cast in the role. However, Lucie said she wasn’t fazed by the criticism.
“There are no look-alikes,” she explained. “I mean, nobody was cast because they look exactly like somebody. They were cast because they’re spectacular performers, actors and they can capture the basic essence of what has been written in this script. And Aaron was adamant about that and thank God. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product.”
Still, Lucie admitted to the outlet that there were “certain scenes” that she “wished” Sorkin, 60, hadn’t included in the film. Lucie didn’t provide specific details about the scenes in question.
“I couldn’t get my way and have them taken out, but they weren’t accurate,” she said. “And I thought, ‘That shouldn’t be in there because that never happened. That’s not true.’ And it’s not just theatrical license, it just wasn’t true. And the day they shot the scene, the sprinklers went off on the set and destroyed the whole set.”
″I Love Lucy″ starred Desi as bandleader Ricky Ricardo, Ball as his wife Lucy, as well as William Frawley and Vivian Vance as neighbor-landlords Fred and Ethel Mertz. It ran from 1951 to 1961 and is still seen around the world in reruns.
The show was produced at Arnaz and Miss Ball’s Desilu Studios. From that series, the couple developed Desilu into a major TV production company that in its prime produced more than 19 TV programs, including ″The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour,″ ″The Untouchables,″ ″December Bride,″ ″Willy,″ ″Our Miss Brooks,″ ″Make Room for Daddy,″ ″Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse,″ ″The Web″ and shows starring Ray Bolger and George Gobel.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.