As a child of the ’90’s, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, was on the required viewing list. We knew the plot, the songs and chuckled at all the nuns with the huge personalities. Many of us love that movie and know it like the back of our hands. And while that might be the case, there are some behind the scenes details that we never learned. Well, all of that is about to change today.
The Switch Up
Naturally, if we’re going to talk about the sequel, we have to begin with the original. And initially, the lead role of Deloris was supposed to go to Bette Midler. And the character’s name wasn’t Deloris, she was Terri Van Cartier. But once Midler passed on the role, they changed her name for Whoopi who said she always wanted to play a woman named Deloris. Midler definitely regrets passing on the project.
She told Metro, “Oh my God, it’s all so tragic. There was Sister Act, which was written for me, but I said: ‘My fans don’t want to see me in a wimple.’ I don’t know where I got that from. Why would I say such a thing? So Whoopi did it instead and, of course, she made a fortune. Then she went on and did Sister Act 2.”
Not so sweet
While Whoopi took the role, she didn’t necessarily enjoy making the first film. After the experience left such a bitter experience in her mouth, she refused to do interviews to promote the project.
Whoopi’s costar Kath Najimy, who I love in Hocus Pocus and played Sister Mary Patrick in Sister Act, told the New York Daily News that Whoopi wasn’t here for it. “There was tenseness that I noticed. You could tell she was not the most happy she has ever been in her life. But there was no tenseness in front of us. That was all between her and Disney.”
So why did she do the sequel?
The short answer? Money. Disney threw so much money at Whoopi, she couldn’t turn it down. She only agreed after they promised to finance her dream project Sarafina.
Remember the cook, Father Wolfgang? That’s Thomas Gottschalk, a German radio and television host. He hosted a popular entertainment show called “Wetten, dass..?” When Whoopi appeared on his show, he won a bet against her and that’s how he earned the role.
Whether it was because Disney was willing to give Whoopi anything she wanted in exchange for her taking on the role, or because her daughter just wanted to try something different, she was featured as one of the chorus students. You may remember she delivered a yo mama joke saying, “Your mama is so fat, she sat on a rainbow and Skittles popped out.”
Alex is the girl at the center of the picture, toward the back.
The film was the first movie for Lauryn Hill, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Ryan Toby.
There are even whisperings that actor Hill Harper made an appearance in the film as a choir boy. I could only find one source for that information. Does anyone remember seeing his face? I think I might have found him in the “Joyful Joyful” scene but I’m still not sure.
Let me know if you think that’s him in the videos below.
But the credit video, which doesn’t list Harper at all makes me doubt. The dude with the hight top fade doesn’t look too much like Harper at all.
Check it out, starting at the 2:54 mark.
Remember when Rita (Lauryn Hill’s character) started rapping on the basketball court, “Who Got the Flo?” Well, turns out that wasn’t scripted that was all Lauryn. We’re not surprised. Homegirl has been talented.
Check it out above.
Though it was a Disney movie, everything wasn’t peaches and cream. Ron Johnson, who played the talented “Sketch” in the movie was accused of raping two extras on set. Johnson was acquitted of both charges. In one of our “Where Are They Now” pieces, Kendra Koger reported that Johnson has since mentoring children.
Erica Campbell, formerly Erica Atkins, also appeared in the film as a chorus girl for the competing choir. She wrote about her experience for We Tv:
“Sister Act 2 was my very first time being in a movie! A wonderful lady named Iris Graves-Howse somehow found me and asked if I would be a part of an extra choir they needed for the competition scene in the movie. Who would say no to that? Not me! I had been singing in my church choir and my college choir and couldn’t wait for a real chance to be on the big screen. I had a trailer with my name on it, and cried when I got in the dressing room, I was so happy and overwhelmed! Being able to watch Lauryn Hill and Whoopi Goldberg and all the amazing people in the film was so exciting for me. All the kids in the movie were so cool; I remember meeting Jennifer Love Hewitt and Kathy Najimy. I even got a chance to sit and talk to Lauryn Hill between takes while they changed camera angles. She told me about her new group and that their first CD was coming out and how excited she was,” Erica laughed about this. ” That group was the The Fugees.”
Erica looked back on the experience fondly. She sang her heart out and owned her role…Good Memories. You couldn’t tell me nothing! I was big time.”
The soundtrack, which was amazing, made it to 74 on the Billboard Top 200 Album charts, and came in at #40 on the top R&B/Hip Hop albums. It went Gold in 1996, three years after the movie was released.
While the second film didn’t make as much money as the first one, it still made plenty of money. The budget was $38 million and it grossed $60 million in the United States and then $100 million worldwide. The second one probably made less because the first one only cost $7 million.
Will there be a third?
If there is a third Sister Act, the chances of Whoopi participating are slim to none. While there have been rumors, Goldberg said she’s not going for it. “No, there’s no chance that I will ever do another Sister Act. Too many of the nuns have passed like Mary Wicks (sic). How could you ever do another Sister Act without them?”
Rose Parenti, who played Sister Alma, also passed away. While the movie could certainly be made without these ladies, it seems like Whoopi was just saying hell no I’m not doing that again, in a more polite way.
Honestly, there’s no need for it.