AceShowbiz - Meryl Streep was thrilled to rejoin the cast of "Mamma Mia!" as she filmed her character's swansong ABBA tune for the sequel.
The Oscar winner was initially reluctant to appear in the film when she was asked to reprise her Donna Sheridan character for a pivotal scene - but then she read the script.
Producer Judy Craymer reveals she felt she had to approach Meryl before plans for the sequel became serious, because she was such a "huge part" of the "Mamma Mia!" franchise.
"Her performance and ambitions for the last film were a key part of the success of the last film," she tells Deadline. "So there was never going to be a move forward without a conversation with her.
"Over the years she'd get the odd call saying, 'You know, we might have something, we might not', and she was never really going to say, 'Yes, I'll jump in', until she knew there was a good script and that was something that hadn't developed in the right way."
Craymer adds, "She loved the idea of prequel because she loved the idea of revisiting the young people, but Meryl Streep doesn't do sequels. She never said that to us, but she wanted to be part of it without being the hugest part. To be honest, she did say, 'I'm not going to be singing nine songs, running across the hilltop, doing my Sound of Music moment. I've done it. But I love Mamma Mia! and have a big affection for it'."
Meryl agreed to return for the sequel and sings ABBA tune "My Love, My Life" during the film's emotional climax.
"When she arrived on set, we had all just come back from vacation and everyone was having a great time, and she was like, 'I wish I'd been here more'," the producer adds. "But she was there, and we were all together for a few days, and it was fun, let's face it.
"She had, as extras for her song, Cher, Pierce (Brosnan), and Colin (Firth), and all of them had signed on with the same proviso: 'If Meryl's in it, I'm in!'
"I'm not sure she realised that Cher would end up as her mother (in the film). That's the kind of madcap Mamma Mia! reality. When we first showed the script to Meryl, I think there was a moment when Meryl said, 'Am I playing my mother as well?'".