Mamma Mia! star Pierce Brosnan reveals his only source of comfort while recording the film's songs. Brosnan joined a star-studded cast for the 2008 adaptation of the ABBA-inspired musical, playing Sam Carmichael, one of the potential fathers to Amanda Seyfried's Sophie. Much of the narrative centers around Carmichael and his humorous conflict with other potential fathers Harry Bright (Colin Firth) and Bill Anderson (Stellan Skarsgård) as they reunite with their shared lost love Donna Sheridan, played by Meryl Streep.
Brimming with all the exuberance and joy one would expect from a summer musical, all the cast were involved in not only the drama of a story about love and the meaning of family but also responsible for delivering the film's many iconic musical sequences. The list of songs throughout the film include Honey, Honey, Our Last Summer, Super Trouper, and of course the titular Mamma Mia, offering audiences a back-to-back selection of ABBA's best hits to frame the central narrative and relationships. The film went on to have such a lasting legacy that a decade later the 2018 sequel/prequel Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again was released to mostly favorable reviews.
Speaking with GQ, Brosnan reveals that performing Mamma Mia'smusical numbers was a daunting prospect. The Irish star himself was tasked with vocal parts in SOS, Our Last Summer, and When All Is Said and Done, among others. However, the shared fear among his fellow male leads comforted him in the build-up to the performances. See what Brosnan had to say below:
It was terrifying having to do these songs. And, you know, ‘SOS’ is such a warhorse of a song. I think what gave me the greatest comfort on the day of recording these songs up at Air Studios was seeing Stellan and Colin looking like rabbits caught in the headlights. They were terrified, we were all terrified of having to sing.
Why Pierce Brosnan Was Nervous To Sing In Mamma Mia!
Brosnan's words immediately highlight that performing any regular musical number is already a daunting prospect for an actor, but there was an added sense of tension for the stars of Mamma Mia! because of just how beloved the musical's soundtrack was. Each man was certainly labored with iconic lines, usually during emotionally charged moments of the narrative, and there would have been a great expectation of them to deliver not only a rousing dramatic performance but also worthy covers of fan-favorite hits. It is a humorous image to imagine three Hollywood heavyweights, who have played suave, calculated leading men like Brosnan's James Bond and cold and menacing villains like Skarsgård's Baron Harkonnen, shaken by the prospect of a musical number in a lighthearted summer romance.
Clearly, the relationships between the cast members on the set of Mamma Mia! were strong if Brosnan found comfort in the shared fears of his fellow performers. All three male stars delivered in the end in spite of their worries, banding together for not only the first film but also the sequel. The brotherhood behind the camera also makes some of the animosity between Sam, Harry, and Bill on-screen all the more amusing, with their eventual reconciliation ever more rewarding knowing the real friendships behind the fictional drama. The call of the musical has struck many a leading man in Hollywood, and Brosnan's words surely echo among his colleagues taking up the daunting task of musical performance. ForMamma Mia!, at least, things definitely seemed to pay off.