Sister Act: why this great director refused to direct the film?

In 1992, the filmmaker Emile Ardolino directed a cult musical: “Sister Act”. The feature film worn by Whoopi Goldberg quickly became a classic of the genre. Yet did you know that for a while Pedro Almodóvar was in pole position to direct the film?

Sister Act : a deserved success

A young woman, witness to a murder, joins a brood to protect herself. This is the pitch of Sister Act, musical comedy against the backdrop of a cult police investigation from the early 1990s. Made by Emile Ardolino, the project meets a major popular success, in particular thanks to the noticed presence of Whoopi Goldberg in the main role. With a cast also made up of Maggie Smith, Bill Nunn and Harvey Keitel, Sister Act brings back more than $ 231 million in box office revenue. The feature film even received two Golden Globe nominations.

Deloris Van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg) – Sister Act ©Disney

The largely positive feedback that pushed Disney to produce a sequel in 1994, still worn by Whoopi Goldberg, but this time directed by Bill Duke. Currently, the studio is even preparing a third opus. A new sequel, almost thirty years later Sister Act 2, which will see the return of the main actress. On the production side, the project is entrusted to Tim Federle, for an outing that will probably be confined to Disney +.

Pedro Almodóvar almost made the first film

If it is Emile Ardolino who realizes Sister Act, for a while, Disney wanted Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar takes care of directing the film. In fact, at that time, Pedro Almodóvar already had several feature films to his credit, including successes like Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown and Tie me Up !. However, even if Sister Act seemed like a great opportunity for his career, Pedro Almodóvar kindly declined the offer. Years later, the filmmaker returned to the reasons for his refusal at the microphone of the New Yorker. Almodóvar put forward practical reasons, but also creative freedoms:

Maybe it was because I was not confident in practicing my English. Maybe it’s because even though they always told me that I would have the final cut and complete artistic freedom, there was always something in me that told me the opposite and therefore that I didn’t. did not believe.

Pedro Almodovar
Pedro Almodóvar © Orange Cinéday

Ultimately, production turned to Emile Ardolino. The latter made a name for himself in 1987 when he directed the iconic musical: Dirty Dancing. Two years later, he realizes Heaven was wrong, then Like fathers, like daughter, before being hired on Sister Act. Sadly, the filmmaker died two years later, at the age of 50, of the AIDS virus. As for Pedro Almodóvar, he preferred to focus on his film High heels, released the same year as Sister Act. And it may not be worse since the film has won the César for Best Foreign Film.

Leave a Comment