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Reba McEntire may have first gained fame for being a country music star, but she has proven a multi-talented entertainer, carving out a separate career as an actress in both film and television. The singer/actress did have to miss out on one huge movie role in James Cameron’s Titanic. Why would anyone turn down Titanic you may ask, well Reba McEntire actually had a really classy reason for doing so, as she explained:
We were on tour and I had a lot of people on the payroll. We had these three months already scheduled to do the movie, and then they got behind on scheduling and said ‘We’ll have to move it to this time.’ So we couldn’t reschedule all the arenas and everything.
As is seemingly so often the case in this industry, packed schedules and obligations mean that some actors have to pass on exciting projects and that was what happened here. Reba McEntire was offered the role of Molly Brown in Titanic and had her schedule blocked out for a specific time to film the movie. When the production was delayed and moved to a time when she was going to be on tour, she had to make a choice.
There was no way for her to reschedule the tour and all the logistics of the venues to accommodate Titanic’s new production period as she told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live. It sounds like she would have had to cancel the tour entirely basically just to be in Titanic.
That would have not only affected her but all the people that were set to work on the tour with her. Knowing how many people were committed to her tour and were counting on those jobs, she made the classy decision to turn down Titanic.
It is unfortunate for her that the change meant Titanic would be filming during her tour, but bowing out was definitely the right thing to do and a classy move. If she had decided to do Titanic no matter what it would have been only about her. Titanic could recast the role and did with actress Kathy Bates, but the tour was entirely dependent on her involvement.
Of course, while it was the right move it had to sting a little bit after Titanic became (at that time) the most successful movie of all time. Reba McEntire admits as much, while still standing by the decision:
Sure. Absolutely. But you have to take care of your people
As Dumbledore once said, you have to choose between what is right and what is easy. And although it would have been easy to choose to be a part of a big movie, it was right to take care of her crew. Reba McEntire would have been a fun choice for the sassy and outspoken Southerner Molly Brown, but Kathy Bates killed it in the role. We can add Reba McEntire's name alongside Matthew McConaughey's to the Titanic that might have been.