Debra Messing Agrees with Fans Who Think She Should Play Lucille Ball: 'I'm Available'
Earlier this month, Deadline reported that Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem are in negotiations to star as Ball and Desi Arnaz in the upcoming Aaron Sorkin film, Being the Ricardos, but the 52-year-old actress is still throwing her hat in the ring to play the late I Love Lucy star even after the news of Kidman's forthcoming role was made public.
Many fans of the actress disagreed with the casting choice and felt that Messing — who previously channeled Ball's I Love Lucy character during an episode of Will & Grace — would be a better fit over Kidman, 53.
So when one social media user questioned if Messing was "unavailable" to take on the part in the film, the actress denied the claim. "Oh no, I'm available," she wrote, expressing interest in the part.
In Being the Ricardos, Kidman and Bardem, 51, are in talks to embody the legendary Hollywood couple as the icons face a crisis that could end their careers and their marriage during the filming of their popular sitcom I Love Lucy.
Sorkin (The West Wing) has written the screenplay and will direct the film, although it's unclear when production will start amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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I Love Lucy aired on CBS from 1951 to 1957 and spanned six seasons. Ball and Arnaz starred as married couple Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, as Lucy tries numerous schemes to be a part of showbusiness through Ricky's nightclub.
While the show was a huge success, it took a toll on the couple's relationship. Following 20 years of marriage, the pair divorced in 1960. "It got so bad that I thought it would be better for us not to be together," Ball once said in court.
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Messing has previously gone on the record as stating that she would never portray Ball, telling Variety in a 2020 interview that she "would not even touch" offers to play the legendary comedian in a film because she is simply "untouchable."
But while talking with fans after the news surrounding Kidman's casting was published, Messing backtracked on that statement. "Ummmmmmmmm I changed my mind," the actress tweeted.
And while it is a longshot that the messages from fans on social media will prompt a change-up in casting and help Messing get the role in the forthcoming film, the actress does have one important supporter in her corner — Ball's daughter, Lucie Arnaz.
In that same interview with Variety, Messing detailed that Arnaz, 69, gave her a stamp of approval behind the scenes of the I Love Lucy tribute episode of Will & Grace. "I was in the green dress. We were about to shoot the song and dance [number] and she walked in and she just looked at me and didn't say anything." Messing said. "Then she hugged me and she said, 'This feels really good. It's been a long time since I've hugged you,' and everyone started to cry."
"And then she smiled and she said, 'I know how long you've been wanting to do this, Debra. And I'm so glad we were able to make it happen.'" And then I had to go [to the stage]," she added. "As I walked away, she said, 'Break a leg, Mom.' Everybody just flipped out and cried. It was really moving."