“Mamma Mia!” is a franchise built upon ABBA’s fun, catchy tunes. Most people know “Mamma Mia” from the two films starring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried (among others!), but this franchise actually started out as a musical based off ABBA’s hit songs.
In fact, this franchise is much more than just a bunch of dancing queens. We rounded up some things you may not know about the series.
This whole franchise started from a serendipitous car ride.
Judy Craymer was 25-years-old when she was asked to pick up ABBA pop star Björn Ulvaeus from the airport. According to Vanity Fair, it was that car ride that started a friendship between Craymer, Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. She was the one to pitch them the idea of turning their songs into a stage musical.
When Craymer was telling Vanity Fair about the appeal of ABBA’s songs and the franchise, she said, “‘Mamma Mia!’ Makes people comfortable in their own skin.”
Both Ulvaeus and Andersson make onscreen cameos in both movies.
In the first “Mamma Mia!” movie, Andersson played the piano on the dock while the cast sang and had a memorable dance number to “Dancing Queen,” while Ulvaeus appeared in the ending credits as a Greek god during the cast’s performance of “Waterloo.”
In “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” Andersson is once again playing the piano, but this time in a restaurant while young Harry is trying to woo young Donna with a performance of “Waterloo.” Ulvaeus has a bit of a different role, this time as a teacher at young Donna’s graduation.
The ‘Super Trouper’ number at the end of the second film was 100% authentic.
Screenwriter and director for “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” Ol Parker revealed that if the Super Trouper scene at the end looks really fun, it’s because it was. Not much was done in order to pull that dance party together.
“When they’re dancing in ‘Super Trouper,’ that’s all real. We played the song loudly and sent them off to different corners … They just had an absolute hoot. The only problem was the men stuffing things down their spandex trousers, that was the only competition through the whole movie, who could get the most down their pants,” Parker told Awards Daily.
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson are executive producers for ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.’
Who knew these two were such fans? According to HuffPost, the couple served as executive producers on the sequel.
Meryl Streep really did the splits in the first film.
Streep said that it was “instinct” that allowed her to do splits in the first film, although she’s not sure she could replicate it now.
“I just did the splits on instinct. That’s what always happens with my acting. As an actor, you’re not allowed to think. I couldn’t do the splits for you right now,” Streep told The Guardian.
Cher wasn’t asked to be Sophie’s grandmother, she was told.
Cher told Sky News that she didn’t have much of a choice when it came to playing Sophie’s grandmother in the highly anticipated sequel. The head of Universal Pictures also used to be her agent, so when he called her to tell her about the part, he hung up before she could say no.
Pierce Brosnan’s family (and housekeeper) wasn’t too keen on his singing voice at first.
In an interview with Good Housekeeping, Brosnan said when he first tried out his vocal cords with his family, even the housekeeper cringed.
“They kept their opinions to themselves for a while, though. They didn’t want me to be discouraged,” said Brosnan.
But, after practicing all the time (and against his children’s will), Brosnan says he got better.
“Now my family seems to think I’m doing all right. But it’s possible they’re being nice. They’re probably still cringing,” said Brosnan.
Many locals were apparently happy to host the cast for the first movie.
In an interview with Popsugar while on tour for the first film, Colin Firth explained that the people of the Greek island Skopelos either welcomed the cast with open arms or completely ignored them.
“Frankly, I think the ABBA factor was the thing that got people excited, and the presence of Pierce and Meryl. I think even if you live on Skopelos and have never seen ‘Mamma Mia!’ You’ll still probably know all the songs. So I think people were really extremely happy,” said Firth.
Lily James said she couldn’t talk for a week in preparation.
In an interview with Build Series, James talked about how since she had just come off a press tour for ‘Baby Driver,’ she had to save her voice to prep for the role of young Donna.
“I’d just been on a really big press tour for Baby Driver and all I’d done is talk for so long and my voice was shot to hell it was just croaky and disgusting. So, it was me being really neurotic, as usual, but it was also me being told by the doctor I had to shut up … I just didn’t talk for a week,” James told Build Series.
A third movie isn’t out of the question.
That’s right “Mamma Mia” fans, there might be a third movie to dance and sing along to. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Dominic Cooper, who plays Seyfried’s on-screen love interest in both movies, spilled the beans that ABBA is back in the studio!
“I’d spoke to Benny and Bjorn the other day – I love talking to them about their past and the history of the band. And they have got the band back together in the studio now recording … So, who knows? They made such successful music, and they always said, ‘If we knew, we’d do it again, and again, and again.’ And maybe them all being together again will do it. After this amount of time, after all the pressures of everything have gone…and if they do, then yes, there will be a third,” Cooper told Vanity Fair.
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