The Major Role That Reba McEntire Turned Down

If there’s one thing that country musician Reba McEntire cares about, it’s the people she believes helped make her a Grammy-winning singer. In fact, her concern for her crew is the reason she made the decision to turn down a role in one of the most iconic films in history. In 1997, director James Cameron offered McEntire the role of “The Unsinkable” Molly Brown in the blockbuster Titanic. Unfortunately, McEntire’s duties as a music icon prevented her from setting sail with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, and the role went to Oscar-winning performer Kathy Bates instead. Asked why she turned down the role, McEntire replied: “We were on tour and I had a lot of people on the payroll,” McEntire said 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.” When asked if the decision crushed McEntire due to the film’s massive success — including its initial $600.8 million global box office haul and 11 Oscar victories — she responded: “Well sure, absolutely, but you’ve gotta take care of your people.” In the end, Titanic became the fifth highest-grossing film of all time, pulling in a worldwide total of $2.195 billion.