Two words for you – Pierce Brosnan.
That’s all you really need to know about the Mamma Mia sequel, right? Whether or not Pierce Brosnan is back.
Back in 2008, when Brosnan opened his mouth in the first Mamma Mia film and proceeded to brutally murder the ABBA song SOS in front of a bewildered Meryl Streep, jaws would drop and internet memes would be born. Sounding like a man trying to sing mere seconds after somebody had kicked him in the genitals, Brosnan’s catastrophic contribution to movie musical history has become a moment of camp glory and – forgive us the ridiculous hyperbole - one of the greatest moments ever seen on the silver screen.
And yes, the good news is Brosnan is back for the sequel, ready to butcher another ABBA tune for our pleasure/pain, joined by the rest of the original film’s cast (although not the original director, Phyllida Lloyd replaced by Best Exotic Marigold screenwriter Ol Parker). So we have Julie Walters, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski, Dominic Cooper, Colin Firth and even Streep herself - although audiences will certainly be getting a lot less of the latter, as Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! is going the prequel route, casting Lily James as the younger version of Streep’s Donna for a ‘how did we get to where we are’ story that juxtaposes Seyfried’s character Sophie expecting a child with Donna’s early life on the fictional island of Kalokairi whilst pregnant with Sophie.
Story is completely irrelevant, though. This is all about the big numbers and the bigger performances, and one of the cast’s new faces (quite literally in this instance) is a massive casting coup. 72 year old diva Cher is coming on board the good ship Mamma Mia to play Streep’s mother, even though there’s only a three year age gap between the two actresses. Cher will be belting out Fernando for the sequel, a moment sure to send gay villages across the country into mind-melting meltdown, whilst another new track includes When I Kissed The Teacher courtesy of James, flamboyantly performed at her character’s graduation.
It’s easy to turn your nose up at this kind of feelgood movie, especially given the kind of snidey critical attitude that’s applied to jukebox musicals in the West End, but audiences absolutely adored the first Mamma Mia, turning it into one of the biggest UK box office hits of all time, and the sequel is set to follow suit.
Never underestimate the pulling power of a good ol’ sing song. Even if Pierce Brosnan is involved.