How ‘Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit’ Almost Didn’t Happen and Other Tales For Its 26th Year Anniversary

There’s always a debate about which Sister Act film is the best – the original, or the sequel. The answer almost always depends on the age of the fan you ask. Most who love the original are a little older, as the sequel targeted a younger demographic. Either way, Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit was just as popular as the original. 

Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit
Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit shot 1993 | Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images

The film centered around Delores Van Cartier (Whoopi Goldberg) who agrees to disguise herself as a nun once again as a favor to her old friends in the convent. She goes undercover as a teacher in an inner-city school to help keep the school afloat under threat of closure. Teaching a music class, the former Las Vegas showgirl turns the rowdy group into a national competing choir. 

Lauryn Hill lent her talent to the film and was praised for her acting chops. The film celebrates its 26th-year anniversary this year and with that in mind, here are four behind the scenes secrets as a treat to its most adoring fans.

Why the sequel almost didn’t happen

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Goldberg agreed to do the sequel but she didn’t enjoy making the first movie. There were issues between writers and production that included several delays on the set due to the script being reworked so much and not complete when it was time to film. It annoyed Goldberg so much that she refused to promote the film. Her co-star, Kath Najimy who played Sister Mary Patrick, noticed issues on set and spoke about them with the Philadelphia Inquirer. “There was tenseness that I noticed. You could tell she was not the most happy she has ever been in her life. But there was no tenseness in front of us. That was all between her and Disney.” The studio offered Goldberg more money for the second film, which played a part in her agreement to reprise her role. At the time, she became the highest-paid actress in film. Disney also agreed to finance Goldberg’s upcoming film, Serafina

‘Sister Act 2’ was many of the young actors’ first film roles, including singer and rapper Lauryn Hill

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Hill was already a singing and rapping powerhouse, so acting seemed like a natural next step. Sister Act 2 would be her first role. She played Rita Watson, a talented yet defiant student who Sister Mary Clarence has a love-hate relationship. Sister begrudgingly agrees to mentor Watson. It was also the first movie role for Jennifer Love Hewitt and singer/songwriter Ryan Toby.

There was an alleged scandal on set

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It may have been a movie centered around the kind-heartedness of Catholic nuns but one of the actors was accused of committing a major sin. Ron Johnson, who played the talented rapper and graphic artist Sketch, was accused of sexually assaulting two extras on set. He maintained his innocence from the start. One, he admitted to having an encounter with but said it was consensual. As for the other, Johnson claimed he’d never met the young lady. The Los Angeles Times reported in 1994 that he was acquitted of both charges. 

The soundtrack was a hit 

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The soundtrack featured all of the music that was included in the film and then some. It made it to number 74 on the Billboard Top 200 Album charts and charted at #40 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop albums. The film was a favorite, so much so that the soundtrack continued to sell way after its release. It went Gold in 1996, three years after the movie was released.

Sister Act fans will get a chance to see Goldberg in the Broadway Show next summer. She announced a few months ago that she’s performing for one month in the London production beginning July 29, 2020. There’s also an alleged third film currently in talks that Goldberg may agree to appear in.