Bette Midler Reveals Why She Turned Down 'Sister Act' : 'My Fans Don't Want to See Me in a Wimple'

Bette Midler is opening up about a role she let get away.

via: People

In a new interview with Variety, the 77-year-old actress and singer revealed she turned down the lead role of Deloris Van Cartier/Sister Mary Clarence in the 1992 comedy Sister Act, which was famously played by Whoopi Goldberg.

“They came to me with Sister Act and I said, ‘My fans don’t want to see me in a wimple.’ Can you believe that? How off the wall is that? How crazy is that?” recalled Midler. “Jeffrey Katzenberg called me every day, [saying,] ‘Please, please.’ ”

“I stood my ground because I really was afraid of the costume. Isn’t that amazing?” she added. “I can wear anything but a nun’s habit?”

But Midler praised Goldberg, 67, whom she said “wore it all the way to the bank” for the film. (Sister Act and its 1993 sequel, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, made close to $300 million combined in theaters worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.)

“So God bless her. And she was perfect for it,” Midler said of Goldberg.

She also said she turned down Kathy Bates’ iconic role in 1990’s Misery opposite the late James Caan, for which Bates, 74, went on to win the Best Actress Academy Award.

“I just couldn’t. It was too violent. The character was so not funny, so without any qualities of redemption,” said Midler. “She cut off his foot. Come on. Who does that?”

Midler didn’t have to wait long to team up with one of the Sister Act cast members, though. In 1993, she and Kathy Najimy starred alongside Sarah Jessica Parker as the Sanderson sisters in Hocus Pocus. They reprised their roles nearly three decades later in 2022’s Hocus Pocus 2.

On an October 2022 episode of The View, Goldberg admitted that the buzz surrounding the latter film sparked her interest in taking part in a third installment of Sister Act.

In regards to making a return to Sister Act, Najimy, 66, said on The View, “I haven’t heard anything formal about 3 yet; I’ve heard rumblings of it. I think it’d be a blast of fun. I look forward to the nuns that we were with that are still with us, seeing them again. They were fantastic, so much fun.”

Najimy then asked Goldberg, “Where is that at? Is that happening?”

Goldberg replied, “It took a little while, but it’s happening. You all helped that happen, I think, because they brought Hocus Pocus back. They finally said, ‘We might as well put those nuns back out there and see if they have any juice.’ “

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