Idina Menzel Admits She Was 'Terrified' to Take On Bette Midler’s Role in Beaches: 'I Hope to Make Her Proud'
She's received Bette Midler's blessing now, but Idina Menzel wasn't excited about taking on Midler's role in the upcoming Beaches remake
She’s played to sold-out houses on Broadway, starred on the big screen in live-action and animated musicals and even performed on the Oscars, but Tony winner Idina Menzel was “terrified” when she was offered a role in an upcoming TV movie.
It was a role made famous by Bette Midler — and one that has been closely associated with the 70-year-old singer since. Its signature song, “The Wind Beneath My Wings,” even scored Midler a No. 1 hit and the 1990 Grammy Award for record of the year.
Nearly 30 years after the original, Lifetime penned a made-for-TV film remake and set their sights on Menzel. But she wasn’t super interested at first.
“I don’t particularly like to choose projects where I have to walk in an icon’s footsteps,” Menzel, 45, explained to Entertainment Tonight. “I found though — after I said ‘no’ a bunch of times, because I was terrified — that there’s a whole young audience that had never even heard of Beaches.”
She’s been blessed by Midler in the role since, though. “Can’t wait to see Idina Menzel as CC in Lifetime’s Beaches!” Midler tweeted in August. “DON’T TELL ME THE ENDING!”
The supportive message was important to Menzel, who had previously called Midler “one of my all-time idols.”
“It meant the world to me,” she told ET. “I don’t think she’s very forthcoming with compliments. She can be tough, so I’ll take that.”
“I hope to make her proud,” she added.
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As for any pressure she may be feeling, Menzel is calling upon her Frozen character’s mantra and agreeing to “let it go.”
“Oh God help me I can never use that phrase in my life without anyone making fun of me,” the voice of Queen Elsa joked. “I’m making fun of myself! I have to say ‘surrender’ instead of just ‘let it go.’ Ugh!”
Beaches debuts Jan. 21 at 8 p.m. ET on Lifetime.