Getting Cher to commit to “Burlesque” took some doing.
“I drove all of them crazy,” Cher recalled. The big-screen musical, about a veteran nightclub performer and the newcomer she takes under her wing, was already well on its way. Co-star Christina Aguilera was in place. And, for a while, so was Cher, marking her first major feature-film role since 1999’s “Tea with Mussolini.”
Then she changed her mind, explaining that her character “wasn’t exactly who she turned out to be on screen, and I needed her to be that character.”
That’s when the director and the head of the studio resorted to stalkingCher.
“I mean, I never thought, ‘Oh my God, why haven’t I done a movie lately?’” Cher said. “There just was nothing. There was one movie with Meryl (Streep), ‘Mamma Mia!’ but I couldn’t, because I was on tour. And then this (movie) came up.”
Shortly after getting word Cher had changed her mind, writer-director Steven Antin and Screen Gems chief Clint Culpepper got word she was doing dubbing work just steps away from their offices on the Sony lot. “There we were, stalking Cher for an hour and a half,” Antin recalled. “It was insane.”
The two convinced Cher to come up and see storyboards detailing Antin’s vision for the movie. “We said, ‘Five minutes,’” Antin remembered. She stayed three hours and, again, agreed to sign on.
Two days later, she was off again, but not forever.
“Well, Clint doesn’t let you say ‘no,’” Cher said, with a laugh. “And I wanted to sing in a movie.”
She has two numbers in “Burlesque,” including a ballad, “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me,” to which Cher could relate. “I have had so many dips in my career and so many times where I thought, ‘How am I going to get this back? What am I going to do?’”
The 64-year-old Cher said she’s well aware of the country’s current economic woes, and that she hopes “Burlesque” provides at least a little break from that harsh reality.
“There’s something fun about losing all of your problems for the amount of time that you’re in this film,” she said. “You just look at (the characters and say), ‘What a great time. I’m part of it.’”
And — at last — so was Cher.