(L to R) Young Rosie (ALEXA DAVIES), Young Donna (LILY JAMES) and Young Tanya (JESSICA KEENAN WYNN) in “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.” Ten years after “Mamma Mia! The Movie,” you are invited to return to the magical Greek island of Kalokairi in an all-new original musical based on the songs of ABBA.
It is difficult to believe, but it has actually been 10 years since the ground-breaking success of Mamma Mia! The Movie.
Judy Craymer, producer and creator of the global smash-hit musical “Mamma Mia!” and producer of the first movie, sets up the premise of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again: “Both the musical and the first film is a story of family and friendship, and believing in yourself. In Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, we continue the emotional journey of our story while also discovering how those life-changing relationships formed and had such a profound impact on Donna, The Dynamos, Sophie and her possible dads.”
“The story of Mamma Mia! feels more relevant than ever, and audiences really have a deep affection for the story, the show, ABBA’s music and the first film,” she continues. “The songs and story take you on an emotional journey with music that is magical and irresistible.”
It was important to Craymer and her fellow film producer, Gary Goetzman, that they not rush a story. Craymer recounts: “The evolution of ‘Mamma Mia’ has always been an organic one, and we’d always loved the idea of a second movie. Without any kind of cynicism, we’ve gone back to the origins of the musical, as there was a foundation there that worked so well. We’d always discussed the backstory of how Donna and The Dynamos formed in college and how Donna found her destiny on the island. This was the jumping-off point for how we came upon the storyline of a prequel and a sequel in one.”
Producer Richard Curtis worked closely with director and screenwriter Ol Parker on the story for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Curtis talks about a fitting inspiration for a story about family: “This came from a conversation with my rather brilliant 22-year-old daughter. I asked if she had any ideas for Mamma Mia! 2, and she said it was obvious: It should be flashback to explore how Donna met the three possible fathers during the summer of ’79, cut into the present day with Sophie. Then there is a whole cycle of motherhood linking the two.”
Curtis and Parker began the process of mapping out the story for the sequel/prequel. “Richard Curtis has an encyclopaedic knowledge of ABBA, which defeats even mine,” Parker laughs. That would inform the narrative of the film. “We both know their music so well, sometimes we’d consider using a song as a way to get into a scene, others we’d find a way to put a song into a scene.”
For Parker, whose background as a screenwriter allowed him the foresight to imagine what would and wouldn’t work, the concept of a prequel/sequel felt ideal. “From the back story of the three possible fathers, how Young Donna becomes Donna and finds her way to the island—even how the dungarees originate—all of those things just seemed like a gift. They’re all these moments where you can create symmetry, and it can lend an emotional resonance to Sophie’s story.”
As in so much of Mamma Mia!, the songs in this film come at just the right time and evoke the perfect feeling for the scene. Offers Producer Gary Goetzman: “‘Dancing Queen’ is the ultimate magical earworm. Once you hear it, you can’t get it out of your mind. It won’t go away, but you never get sick of it. That’s the most amazing thing with these movies, is that when I hear Benny and Björn’s music, I can’t help but be addicted to it and constantly be humming it. I can’t help but feel happy when I hear the songs… ABBA’s music is timeless. It appeals to generation after generation, in any setting—I don’t care if it’s a dance floor, your car or in the bath tub. ABBA rules.”
In Philippine cinemas July 17, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures. Follow us on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/uipmoviesph/