BY BILLY SUTER
THE 2008 film version of the stage hit Mamma Mia was the highest grossing live-action movie musical in the world until earlier this year, when Bill Condon’s live-action Beauty and the Beast toppled it from the spot, reports Wikipedia.
No great surprise, then, that news is filtering through of a sequel, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!, being planned for release globally in mid-2018.
Meanwhile, it has also been announced that a made-for-TV version of Dirty Dancing – starring former Little Miss Sunshine child star Abigail Breslin (now aged 21) as Baby and newcomer Colt Prattes as hip-swivelling Johnny – is to air on America’s ABC network on Wednesday (May 24).
Getting back to the Mamma Mia sequel… word is that many in the original cast – which included Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, Julie Walters and Pierce Brosnan – will be returning for the follow-up to a success that, Wikipedia reports, has raked in almost $603 million at the global box-office.
Universal Pictures has announced that Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, which will once again be set on the Greek island of Kalokairi, will be released on July 20 next year.
It will evidently be an all-new musical featuring songs by Abba that were not used in the first movie, but will also make highlight songs used in the first film.
Ol Parker, writer of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, is listed as the sequel’s writer and director, and former Abba members Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus will serve as executive producers.
The first Mamma Mia told the story of a young woman who, on the eve of her wedding in Greece, invited three of her mother’s boyfriends to the big event in a bid to find out which was her father.
Mamma Mia received mixed reviews but raked in almost 12 times its budget. The film, nominated for two Golden Globe awards, featured hits such as Take a Chance, The Winner Takes It All, SOS, Honey, Honey and Money, Money, Money.
Others among its cast were cast were Stellan Skarsgard, Dominic Cooper and Christina Baranski.
Interestingly, reports Wikipedia, most of the 2008 film’s outdoor scenes were filmed on location at the small Greek island of Skopelos and the seaside hamlet of Damouchari in the Pelion area of Greece.
The website also points out that the producers built a beach bar and jetty along the beach, but removed both these set pieces after production wrapped
Wikipedia adds, too, that a complete set of a Greek villa was built at the James Bond stage at Pinewood Studios and most of the film was shot there.
Back to the remake of the 1987 hit, Dirty Dancing, which starred Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey… it will be directed by Wayne Blaire and will feature choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, winner of a Tony Award for his work on the Hamilton musical.
Also among the cast is Will & Grace star Debra Messing as Marjorie Kellerman, while in the role of Penny is former Pussycat Dolls member Nicole Scherzinger.
Katey Sagal, best known as the sarcastic Peg Bundy in TV’s Married… with Children, has been cast as Vivian Pressman, and Billy Dee Williams, perhaps best known a Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars film franchise, is playing Tito.
Tony Roberts is reportedly playing Max Kellerman, Bruce Greenwood is Dr Jake Houseman, Sarah Hyland is Lisa Houseman, Trevor Einhorn is Neil, Shane Harper is Robbie Gould and Quinton Johnson is Marco.