Christine Baranski says it was ‘rocket science’ getting Colin Firth to dance properly in Mamma Mia 2
Christine Baranski has reflected on filming the dancing and singing scenes in Mamma Mia 2 with Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård and Pierce Brosnan.
The actors all reprised their roles from the 2008 film Mamma Mia in the 2018 sequel, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, and they did not exactly take naturally to the dancing.
“I don’t think the three actors would mind my saying – Colin and Stellan and Pierce – just to get them to sing the song and put one foot in front of another and raise a glass of beer together, it was like rocket science,” Baranski said in a retrospective on the film in Vulture.
For the film’s chaotic ending, the cast all got together for an improvised dance. “It was thrown together,” Baranski said. “And I must say, it was brilliantly thrown together.”
Writer-director Ol Parker added of Firth, Skarsgård and Brosnan: “If you watch them, f*** me, you can see how arrhythmic they all are. Stellan, I think we digitised his mouth, because he went, ‘Oom-pah-pah,’ at the wrong time. How hard is it to do that? It’s a disaster, every shot.
“But we just get away with it. Part of the fun is watching these guys make absolute twats of themselves with complete abandon. Watch it again, and you’ll see how much they all suck.”
Skarsgård admitted: “When they cast me and Colin for the first film, we knew we weren’t cast because we would sing and dance. We were cast just as, like, the bimbos that should be cute and funny.
“It really was like a community theatre project. Some things that you’ve come up with are accepted and some are not, and you feel absolutely safe and free.”
Parker said Firth was “not a natural mover” who was “just totally freaked out not to be choreographed, not to be told what to do”.
In his three-star review of the film for The Independent, Geoffrey Macnab wrote that it is “only for fans of ABBA, spandex, and glitter” and that “thankfully, there is a sizeable enough part of the audience with a high tolerance for just such a mixture”.