Early viewers of co-writers and co-stars Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo's new comedy film Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar were caught off guard by Reba McEntire's cameo as Trish, a character that ends the film as a water spirit flanked by sea turtles.
Even if you're on the fence over whether that sounds like a sidekick for a future Aquaman film or a spokesperson for canned tuna, you've got to admit that McEntire was a great fit for Wiig and Mumolo's tale of two Midwestern best friends' vacation misadventures in Florida.
McEntire's spoiler-free photos from the Airplane meets Bridesmaids comedy show the transformation that preceded her scenes, which were filmed in Cancun.
"You're going to be surprised, but this is the first time I've ever played a sea spirit," McEntire told USA Today.
Naturally, ET's John Boone asked director Josh Greenbaum the why and how about McEntire's casting.
"We sent her the script and sent a note along that said, 'We'd love it if you would be our Trish, our magical sea spirit.' And she just instantly got it," Greenbaum said. "I think that's the thing with this film. Some people just get it. One of the things Kristen said that she learned early in comedy is don't write for what you think other people is funny, write for what you think is funny. And some people will get it and other people won't, but clearly Reba McEntire was a kindred spirit in comedy. And she showed up and was such a joy and so funny, and I remember her sort of saying, 'So I'm going to be a mermaid?' And we were like, 'Well, kind of!'"
Mumolo plays Barb, while Wiig portrays both Star and the film's main villain, Sharon Gordon Fisherman. Other stars of note include Jamie Dornan, Damon Wayans Jr. and Andy Garcia, who plays Tommy Bahama himself.