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The Real Reason Meryl Streep Doesn't Do Sequels

Meryl Streep, who started acting in the 1970s, has definitely made her mark on Hollywood and the entertainment industry. She's well-known for her iconic roles in films like The Devil Wears Prada, Mamma Mia!, and Sophie's Choice. She's even returned to television recently with her role in season 2 of Big Little Lies. One notable aspect of Streep's career is that she doesn't star in sequels to her hit movies, and there's a logical reason for that. 

Judy Craymer, the producer of Mamma Mia!, spoke with Indiewire about the 2018 sequel to the hit musical, Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again, and Streep's role in making the film. While Streep starred in the lead role as Donna in the first movie, she only made a cameo in the sequel, which focused on her character's past, with English actress Lily James taking on the younger version of Streep's character. When Craymer was asked about Streep's acting career and the reason behind her choice to avoid sequels, she had a very simple answer.

Speaking on why Streep historically hasn't acted in sequels, Craymer said that Streep is "the most lauded actress and the most extraordinary actress in the world," so essentially, "what would she be doing in there?" For Streep, she is a highly desired actress with plenty of opportunities. Unless the idea for a sequel is very compelling and challenging, there's no real reason for her to return.

Simply put, Meryl Streep doesn't need to make sequels to her films

When Universal initially started talking about creating a Mamma Mia! sequel, the key factor was whether or not the original cast would return, and according to Craymer, Streep just wasn't interested. To add to that, the original film's screenwriter Catherine Johnson and director Phyllida Lloyd decided not to return either. In order to overcome those obstacles, Craymer and the team went with a prequel, which allowed them to bring in a new, younger cast, led by James, with key actors from the first film like Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper reprising their roles. 

In the end, they somehow managed to convince Streep to come back, but only for a cameo, returning to her role as Seyfried's character's mother, Donna. Streep did not participate in any promotions or interviews for the sequel film, but in a behind-the-scenes featurette, the actress admitted that she "never thought that there would be a sequel." Though she did end up accepting a brief role in Here We Go Again, you shouldn't get your hopes up that this signifies a new trend for Streep. She continues to have a fantastic, varied career, and ultimately has no need for sequels, making Mamma Mia! a true exception.