Debra Messing fans are still angry Nicole Kidman was cast as Lucille Ball in the Being the Ricardos biopic instead. Director Aaron Sorkin, best known for his work on The Trial of the Chicago 7, had stood by his choice, however, making bizarre claims in a Hollywood Reporter interview that casting doesn’t even really matter when it comes to making movies.
“What I needed was someone who absolutely owns it,” Aaron Sorkin said about his decision to cast Nicole Kidman. “And you’re going to choose from a small pool of world-class actresses.”
“‘This isn’t for beginners,’ as Lucy says, this was going to be a kind of tour de force performance,” he declared, seemingly implying that either Debra Messing would have been a bad choice, or that only an actress like Nicole Kidman would be the good choice.
He also said that, “When Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem and J.K. Simmons and Nina Arianda say they want to do your movie, your casting search is over.”
Upset fans remained enraged by the apparent snub, however, mentioning that Debra Messing had reportedly been given the stamp of approval by Lucie Arnaz, Ball’s daughter.
During a Will & Grace episode that was in tribute to I Love Lucy, Lucie Arnaz, 69, said that she was “so glad we were able to make it happen.”
“She hugged me and she said, ‘This feels really good. It’s been a long time since I’ve hugged you,'” Debra Messing told Variety about meeting Lucie for the tribute episode back in 2020. “As I walked away, she said, ‘Break a leg, Mom.’ Everybody just flipped out and cried. It was really moving.”
I Love Lucy fans have taken to the Will & Grace actress ever since, and love pointing out similar facial features and hairstyle online.
“You know who would’ve nailed this, Debra Messing,” said Carolyn Hinds, a film critic and podcast host for Rotten Tomatoes.
“That’s why I thought from the word go,” another fan replied about the Messing snub. “Mind boggling.”
“It makes zero sense,” the critic replied back.
“Debra Messing as Lucille Ball could’ve been a SELLER,” another fan wrote on Twitter, posting two pictures where the actresses look alike.
“She should have played her, not Nicole Kidman,” a commenter replied.
Debra Messing maintained until the Nicole Kidman announcement that Lucille Ball was “untouchable,” but after the Being the Ricardos casting news were revealed, she tweeted out, “Ummmmmmmmm I changed my mind.”
Fans have been clamoring for Messing to play the role ever since, despite the fact that the official trailer has already been released and the movie is one month from premiering.
Sorkin allegedly told Kidman that he was “not looking for a physical or vocal impersonation of these people,” even though he was making a biopic.
“Leading up to the first rehearsal, I’d write to them every day, ‘Just play the characters who are in the script,'” he said. “I know that Nicole was working on Lucy’s voice for a while, and I wanted to relieve her of that.”
Lucie Arnaz’s approval apparently also went to Kidman as well. Sorkin revealed that Arnaz visited the set and gave the film her endorsement while shooting.
“I’m certain that when people see the movie, they’ll leave feeling that Nicole has made a very solid case for herself,” Aaron Sorkin said, “but moreover, I’ve found that you can really leverage low expectations.”
Sorkin also alleged that Lucie Arnaz gave Javier Bardem her approval, even though fans were angry that a Spanish actor was cast as someone from Cuba, like Desi Arnaz.
“Having an actor who was born in Spain playing a character who was born in Cuba was not demeaning,” Sorkin stated. “And it wasn’t just the casting consultant who agreed, Lucy and Desi’s Cuban American daughter didn’t have a problem with it. So, I’m very comfortable with it.”
The film, which is off to a rocky start is set for release on Dec. 10 in theaters, and on Amazon Prime Dec. 21, streaming just before the holidays.