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Entertainment Weekly

Movies

Reba McEntire reveals why she turned down a major role in Titanic

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Reba McEntire’s busy tour schedule sank her dreams of sailing across the big screen in James Cameron’s classic romance Titanic. 

The 63-year-old country superstar revealed Thursday night on the Andy Cohen-hosted talk show Watch What Happens Live that she was originally offered Kathy Bates’ role of “The Unsinkable” Molly Brown — a real-life figure who famously commandeered a lifeboat after the ocean liner hit an iceberg and sank in 1912 — in the Best Picture-winning blockbuster.

But, McEntire’s duties as a music icon prevented her from setting sail with Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Billy Zane on the 1997 global box office smash, and the role went to Oscar-winning performer Kathy Bates instead.

“We were on tour and I had a lot of people on the payroll,” McEntire told Cohen of the planned shoot, which eventually began in July 1996. “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.”

Cohen then asked if the decision crushed McEntire due to the film’s massive worldwide success — including its initial $600.8 million global box office haul (then the biggest tally of all time) and 11 Oscar victories at the 1998 Academy Awards.

“Well, sure. Absolutely,” she responded. “But you’ve gotta take care of your people.”

Watch What Happens Live airs Sunday through Thursday at 11:00 p.m. ET/10:00 p.m. CT on Bravo. Watch a portion of McEntire’s appearance above.

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