Tim Federle (Tuck Everlasting, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series) has signed on to direct a new sequel to Disney's Sister Act film series, which will feature Whoopi Goldberg reprising her performance as Deloris Van Cartier and a screenplay by Madhuri Shekar. As reported by Deadline, Goldberg will also produce with Tyler Perry and Tom Leonardis.
The project will be the latest Disney property to be rebooted by Federle, who created and serves as showrunner on the Disney+ series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, itself inspired by the High School Musical film franchise. Federle has also directed and written a film adaptation of his young adult novel Better Nate Than Ever, set to hit Disney+ in 2022.
The sequel would be the first time Goldberg has returned to her Sister Act role since the 1993 sequel Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit; plans for Goldberg to play Deloris in the stage musical adaptation in London's West End were indefinitely postponed by COVID-19. She played Mother Superior during the musical's original West End run in 2010.
Shekar's play A Nice Indian Boy was the second place winner of East West Players Face of the Future Playwriting Award in 2012, debuting at East West Players in 2014. It then premiered in February 2014. Along with an upcoming film adaptation of A Nice Indian Boy, Shekar penned Evil Eye for Amazon and Blumhouse, and her TV credits include The Three Body Problem and The Nevers.
Released in 1992, Sister Act follows a nightclub singer Deloris as she goes into hiding as a nun after witnessing a murder. Suddenly finding herself leading the convent choir, Deloris shakes things up teaching the ensemble Motown classics along with Motown-inspired takes on hymns. Along with featuring musical arrangements from Hairspray composer Marc Shaiman, the film co-starred Kathy Najimy and Maggie Smith, with an ensemble cast including such stage favorites as Jenifer Lewis, Mary Wickes, Bill Nunn, Susan Johnson, Susan Browning, Ruth Kobart, and Beth Fowler, among others.
The 1993 sequel saw the nuns of St. Katherine's transforming a student choir at a run-down Catholic school. Goldberg, Smith, Najimy, and more reprised their roles from the first film, newly joined by Sheryl Lee Ralph, Lauryn Hill, Michael Jeter, Alanna Ubach, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and more.
The first film was adapted for the stage by Alan Menken, Bill Steinkellner, Cheri Steinkellner, and Glenn Slater, with additional material by Douglas Carter Beane. Premiering on Broadway in 2011 after its West End debut in 2009, the musical moved the story to the 1970s, with the choir taking on disco-inspired original tunes in place of the film's Motown catalogue. Patina Miller and Victoria Clark led the cast as Deloris and Mother Superior respectively, both earning Tony nominations for their performances.