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Would Reba McEntire Ever Be Game to Return for More Tremors?

Someone start writing the Heather Gummer movie right now!

By Cassidy Ward
Heather Gummer (Reba McEntire) wears a striped shirt in Tremors (1990).

Country music superstar and The Voice Coach extraordinaire Reba McEntire is most well-known for a genre-defining musical career, but she’s no stranger to the big or small screen. Over the last few decades, McEntire has lent her iconic voice to a number of voice acting roles, appeared as a fictional version of herself on her self-titled sitcom, and played the “best driver there is,” A.J. Ferguson, in the film adaptation of The Little Rascals. But before all that, McEntire made her feature film debut in the cult classic monster movie Tremors, streaming now on SYFY.

Having barely survived her first encounter with the film's giant sand worms, you’d think Reba might be keen to get out of the monster business while the getting is good, but that’s not the case. All Reba is waiting on is an invitation, according to a 2020 conversation with Esquire.

Welcome to Perfection, Home of Tremors

As the 1990 movie opens, we’re treated to a view of the high desert, a little place called Perfection, Nevada (fictional). Kevin Bacon’s Valentine (Val) McKee is standing at the edge of a cliff and peeing over the side. That’s how you know he’s rough and tumble. He and his work partner Earl Bassett (Fred Ward) are working the land, repairing fences, when they decide to ditch their workaday lives in search of their true fortunes. The desert has other plans.

RELATED: Kevin Bacon Calls Working on Tremors a Magical Time Spent with ‘Ingenious’ Graboids

On their way out of town they encounter the body of Edgar Deems clinging to an electrical tower with a gun still clutched in his hand, having died of apparent dehydration. Val and Earl get distracted pulling his body down just long enough for a landslide to knock out the phone lines and block the only road heading out of town. When they find the severed head of another victim, the few remaining residents of Perfection (population 14) are trapped with a mysterious killer on the loose.

The killer, it turns out, is a small group of massive subterranean worms with three snake-like tongues, affectionately called graboids. Fortunately, Val and Earl have gun-toting doomsday preppers Heather and Burt Gummer (Reba McEntire and Michael Gross, respectively) watching their six.

Tremors brought in a modest $16 million on a $10 million budget, but went on to become a cult classic which remains beloved to this day. Moreover, a fanbase almost as rabid as the graboids themselves nurtured a series of sequels and one prequel. At the time of writing, there are seven films and one season of a television show in the franchise.

The series has provided a lifelong career for Michael Gross, who plays Burt Gummer in every entry, with the exception of the prequel in which he plays Burt’s ancestor Hiram Gummer. While Burt’s wife Heather only appears in the first installment, McEntire said she was open to returning for another at-bat against the graboid invasion, and none too soon. To a certain subset of people, Tremors is Reba’s crowning achievement. “So many times, people wouldn’t even know I sang. It’s a cult film! People are into it!” she told Esquire.

Reba McEntire’s Heather Gummer Is Ready to Fight Graboids Again

According to “Queen Reba,” the experience of making Tremors was rewarding but grueling. She was touring all over the country throughout the week and then flying in to shoot scenes in the desert on the weekends. Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

The film’s executive producer, Gale Ann Hurd, was reportedly looking for her Heather when she saw Reba in an appearance on The Pat Sajak Show in 1989. Hurd thought McEntire would be perfect for the role and reached out. The filmmakers were apparently concerned that Reba might not be up for running around the desert fighting slimy subterranean monsters, but that’s light work for the Queen of Country. “I’m all for that. I’m an old cowgirl. It’s fine,” she said.

RELATED: Every Movie in the Tremors Franchise, Ranked

Her first scene was a quick one. It’s a moment when the gathered residents of Perfection first find part of the creature. Heather Gummer bends down to examine the monster, saying, “It stinks, too.” McEntire was so elated at the experience of her first shot on a real movie set, brief as it might have been, she broke out in celebration. She deserved it too; say what you will about graboids, but we believe they stink. It must have been a good time because when asked if she would return to Perfection to beat back the graboid menace one more time, she said, “You bet. How fun would that be.”

So much fun, Reba. So much fun!

Catch the graboids before they catch you in a live broadcast of Tremors January 9, at 9:45 p.m. ET, followed immediately by the sequel, Tremors II. You can catch a second showing of both monster flicks January 10, beginning at 5:29 p.m. ET. Or you can just watch it at your leisure, as Tremors is streaming now on SYFY

And if you're suddenly in the mood to spend even more time with Reba, the latest season of The Voice is now streaming on Peacock!

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