Meryl Streep has always made cultured high- class movies with the right people, but now, it seems, she’s made a deal with the devil to star & sing in a big-screen version of the highly successful but thoroughly despised Abba musical Mamma Mia!, which has mainly been patronized in New York over the last seven years by shmuck tourists with little or no taste.
Universal and producing partners Playtone (i.e., Tom Hanks‘ company) and Littlestar are preparing to shoot this summer with Phyllida Lloyd, who directed the original “Mamma” in London as well as the Broadway version now playing at the Winter Garden theatre, making her feature directing debut.
We are in a culture war, dammit — the brutes and the barbarians are at the gates — and if you’re a cultivated blue-state actress like Streep you don’t go over to the other side and sell your soul just to make a buck. If you ask me (and a lot of others, I’m betting) Streep is a traitor to her fans for lending her considerable class and dignity to an adaptation of a very coarse musical that has been spat and shat upon by almost every self-respecting theatre critic. Except for the whores, I mean.
“While the musical may not be a favorite of theater snobs,” Variety‘s Michael Fleming writes, “it is a wildly profitable crowd-pleaser that has played in 130 cities around the world and had grossed $1.6 billion from its 1999 opening to the moment Playtone’s Gary Goetzman and Hanks made a rights deal.”