Bette Midler spent most of her career creating the persona of â€œThe Divine Miss M.â€ But looking back, the actress regrets not taking more chances.
â€œMy husband calls it winging itâ€”the way I just took what the studios gave me, didnâ€™t do my homework and avoided roles that would risk my image,â€ she said in an interview with The New York Times. â€œAs an actor youâ€™re supposed to take jobs that will challenge you or force fans to see you in a different light. By the â€˜90s I wasnâ€™t really an actor anymore. I was someone who went on the road with these gigantic concerts. I got so far away from what they told you in acting class: Do something different. Producers kept offering me the Sister Act movie, but I said, â€˜My fans donâ€™t want to see me in a wimple.â€™ I literally said, â€˜My fans donâ€™t want to see me in a wimple.â€™â€
Despite being nominated for two Oscars (for 1979â€™s The Rose and 1991â€™s For the Boys), thereâ€™s also another role that Midler was offered that she now regrets dismissing. â€œAnd Miseryâ€”I turned that down because I didnâ€™t want to saw off someoneâ€™s foot, even though the role won an Oscar,â€ she said. â€œIt was stupid to say no to those pictures. And while I was unsure about doing this play, I felt it was time for me to say yes.â€
The play Midler is referring to is John Loganâ€™s one-woman show, Iâ€™ll Eat You Last, based on the powerhouse agent Sue Mengers (who died in 2011.) Although the production seems tailor made for Midlerâ€™s talents, the actress is still worried she wonâ€™t be able to pull off the character.
â€œI hope people will cut me some slack, but who knowsâ€”maybe theyâ€™ll take me down for it,â€ she said. â€œI mean, can I really create a three-dimensional character? I donâ€™t know anymore. Iâ€™m certainly going to try.â€
Iâ€™ll Eat You Last is now in preview performances on Broadway.