Sister Act is one of those classic comedies that we all know and love. Whoopi Goldberg was at her absolute finest in a role that would inspire not only a sequel, but a super successful stage adaptation as well!
The movie is pretty fantastic overall, but there is a lot about the process that you may not have known. Check out these 10 secrets from behind the scenes of one of the most fun comedies of the 90s.
1. Sister Mary Clarence was inspired by a real nun
While researching the movie, screenwriter Paul Rudnick, when to the Regina Laudis Abbery in Bethlehem, Connecticut where he met Mother Dolores Hart. She is actually a former actress who is still a voting member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. She left Hollywood at 24 to become a nun and acted as a bit of inspiration for the movie.
2. Bette Midler was supposed to be the star
She was signed on to star as the main character but backed out. In 2010 she recalled saying that “My fan don’t want to see me in a wimple,” but quickly countered that by saying “I don’t know where I got that from. Why would I say such a thing?”
Obviously her career didn’t suffer too much.
3. Whoopi Goldberg had one very specific request when she took over
Her one condition for taking the role was that the character’s name be changed to Dolores. Why Dolores? Well, apparently she just had always wanted to play a character with that name.
4. The script wasn’t even done when they started were filming
Because the script wasn’t done and they were filming out of order, sometimes the actors wouldn’t know what to do. They had no idea what would come before or after the scene they were filming and would just have to hope it would all fit together.
5. The script had a lot of rewrites, including some by Carrie Fisher
When Disney called for rewrites they apparently only gave two weeks to do it. Carrie Fisher was brought in alongside Nancy Meyers and Robert Harling to fix up the script. This isn’t the only script Fisher has been involved with. She also did some work on Hook, Lethal Weapon 3, and The Wedding Singer.
Click to the next page to find out what the actresses did between takes that had an entire casino confused!
6. Kathy Najimy based her perky and optimistic Sister Mary Patrick off of Entertainment Tonight host Mary Hart
Najimy didn’t tell the Entertainment Tonight host that she based the character on her positive attitude, but she did send her a bouquet of roses without any explanation.
7. The singing voice of Sister Mary Robert isn’t actually the actress who played it
Wendy Makkena played Sister Mary Robert but the big, amazing voice that you hear when she sings actually belongs to voice actress Andrea Robinson.
8. Najimy said that some of the cast would hang out in the casino while they were in Reno playing blackjack in their habit costumes
“That was great, because I love gambling,” Najimy said. “Wendy [Makkena, who plays Sister Mary Robert] smokes, and we’d sit at the 21 table in our nun outfits with drinks in front of us. That was hilarious.”
9. The creators of Sister Act have been sued twice
Donna Douglas (known for her role as Elly May Clampett on The Beverly Hillbilies) tried to sue Whoopi Goldberg, Bette Midler and the production companies involved for the movie for $200 million.
She had sold a book called A Nun in the Closet which was turned into a screenplay before being turned down. Shortly after Sister Act came out. Disney tried to settle for $1 million which Douglas refused, hoping to win in court. She didn’t win and instead got nothing.
They were sued again in 2011 by a nun named Delois Blakely who claimed her autobiography The Harlem Street Nun published in 1987 was used as reference.
10. Whoopi Goldberg appeared in a limited run of the stage musical in the London show, but not as Dolores
She instead played Mother Superior for a short run. The show was nominated for five Tony awards including Best Musical.