Cinderella star Lily James has signed on to play a pivotal character in the upcoming sequel Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! Starting her career in British film and television in 2010, James' breakthrough role, of course, came in 2012 with her recurring part as Lady Rose MacClare in the critically acclaimed TV series Downton Abbey. Her first big exposure on the big screen, however, came in the titular role of Disney's live-action version of Cinderella, which earned more than $201 million domestically and $342 million internationally for a robust global take of $543 million.
Following her turn in the box office flatliner Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, James recently aligned herself with another winner in director Edgar Wright's Baby Driver; and she's about to board another high-profile project set to the tunes of legendary pop music group ABBA.
According to THR, James in Here We Go Again! will play the younger version of Donna, the role originated by Meryl Streep in the 2008 worldwide blockbuster Mamma Mia! In addition to Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried and Colin Firth have also joined the sequel, and Deadline reports that Christine Baranski will reprise her role from the first film as well. The original film also starred Dominic Cooper, Stellan Skarsgard and Julie Walters, but there's no word yet on whether the actors will return for the sequel.
THR says that film, which is slated for a July 20, 2018, release, will feature new ABBA songs as well are reprisals of songs from the original Broadway-turned-movie musical. If Here We Go Again! requires some singing by James, she certainly has experience. Not only does she she sing briefly at the end of Cinderella, she also recorded a version of the Disney standard "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" that can be heard in film's end credits.
Billed as "Young Donna," it will be interesting to see how director Ol Parker will utilize James in Here We Go Again! The original Mamma Mia! surrounds the nuptials of Donna's daughter, Sophie, and three men from Donna's past – one of which is the father of the bride-to-be. Streep plays the younger version of herself in flashbacks in the original Mamma Mia! so whether Parker goes further back in time for James' version of the character is yet to be seen. It's possible that James takes on the scenes featuring Donna's relationships with the three special men in her life.
- Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018) release date: Jul 20, 2018