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What The Cast Of Mamma Mia! Is Doing Today

There's always a certain amount of trust in the safety of the investment when it comes to adaptations of hit Broadway musicals: They have their own reliable, dedicated audience, they lend themselves well to an established popular film genre, and they come with built-in name recognition. But even so, before 2008, no one could imagine the exact proportions the "Mamma Mia!" phenomenon would take.

Phyllida Lloyd's cinematic take on the ABBA jukebox musical had a lot going for it, from the enormous success of the stage version to the irresistible pull of one of the greatest song vaults in pop music history. But a final gross of over $600 million worldwide and the title of most successful live-action musical ever (via Box Office Mojo) — even the most diehard of ABBA fans were thrown for a loop. Of course, in the years since, that record has been broken again and again by a series of Disney live-action remakes. But even so, the movie remained popular enough to spur a similarly successful sequel, with a third one already on the way. "Mamma Mia!" wasn't just a hit; it was a smash.

In addition to the benefits of the source material and the picturesque wonder of the Greek seaside, one of the things that made "Mamma Mia!" so universally enjoyable was its cast. Few modern movies beat it for the sheer, simple pleasure of watching major stars let their hair down and have a good old time. Unsurprisingly, pretty much the whole ensemble has gone on to great things in the intervening 13 years.

Meryl Streep has gone from prestige to superstardom

Meryl Streep was already widely regarded as the best living American actress when she starred in "Mamma Mia!" as Donna. The year of 2008 continued her impressive streak of Oscar success with yet another Best Actress nomination for "Doubt," but that wasn't new territory for Streep. The real change that the 2008/2009 biennium brought to her career was that, between "Mamma Mia!," "It's Complicated," and "Julie & Julia," she also became a box office sensation.

The years since have seen Streep loosen up a little on the gravity and high respectability that defined most of her career, and embrace roles that allowed her to be more relaxed, blithesome, and just plain fun. To be sure, she still racked up five more Oscar nods — and won one, for "The Iron Lady" — but, in movies like "Into the Woods," "Hope Springs," and "Mary Poppins Returns," she has also enjoyed a newfound status as an established superstar, someone mainstream audiences flock to theaters just to see her be on screen.

Though the year 2020 was naturally disastrous across the board for Hollywood bottom lines, Streep's two starring roles that year still exemplify this new era of her career. In the Ryan Murphy musical "The Prom" (pictured above), she leads an all-star ensemble primarily preoccupied, as in "Mamma Mia!," with putting on a grand, hilarious show for the audience. In Steven Soderbergh's laid-back, largely improvised ensemble comedy "Let Them All Talk," meanwhile, Streep gets to bask in the pure spectacle of her own presence, and exercise sharp ad-libbing skills we didn't know she possessed. There's seemingly no limit to what she can do.

Amanda Seyfried broke through all the way to the Oscars

It's debatable whether Amanda Seyfried's breakout happened in "Mamma Mia!," which saw her light up the screen as the angel-voiced co-protagonist Sophie, or four years earlier, in "Mean Girls," when she gifted the world with a wealth of unforgettable one-liners as the fan-favorite Karen Smith.

Either way, her rise throughout the 2010s has been steady and sure, from leading roles in major studio movies like "Dear John," "In Time" and "The Big Wedding" to acclaimed turns in auteur projects like David Lynch's "Twin Peaks: The Return" and Paul Schrader's "First Reformed."

It's clear, however, that the most winning year of Seyfried's career yet has been 2020, in which she had a total of three notable roles. The first was in "Scoob!" as the voice of Daphne, and the second was in the Blumhouse psychological horror "You Should Have Left" opposite Kevin Bacon.

And then there's the big role of not just Amanda Seyfried's 2020, but arguably her whole career: Marion Davies in "Mank" (pictured above). An inside-baseball tale of film industry intrigue, David Fincher's period drama positioned itself as ostensibly a biopic of "Citizen Kane" screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman), but effectively turned out to be more of a two-hander, charting the complicated dynamic between Mankiewicz and Davies. As the wife of William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper tycoon whose life "Citizen Kane" was unofficially inspired by, Davies has hesitations about the project and what repercussions it may have on her life. Her fraught conversations with Mankiewicz form the bulk of the film, and Seyfried received enormous praise for her work in them, resulting in numerous awards including an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Pierce Brosnan has a lot of new projects lined up

Irish actor and former James Bond Pierce Brosnan was, of course, already a household name by the time he appeared in "Mamma Mia!" as Sam, one of Sophie's three possible fathers and Donna's primary romantic interest. Though his role in the movie was controversial — despite his energy and commitment, his singing abilities were highly criticized, ultimately netting him a Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor — the renewed exposure certainly didn't hurt, and Brosnan has worked on a steady average of two to four movies a year ever since, most recently "Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga" (pictured above). One of those movies, in the Ewan McGregor-starring political thriller "The Ghost Writer," earned Brosnan some of the highest acclaim of his career, including several award nominations.

By the looks of it, though, the best of Brosnan's post-"Mamma Mia!" career is yet to come. The actor has at least five new movies either in development, in production, or awaiting release. Still this year, we can expect to see him as the star of "The Misfits," a heist thriller directed by action veteran and Brosnan's friend Renny Harlin (via The Hollywood Reporter), and as part of the cast of the Ilana Glazer-written A24 horror film "False Positive," per Variety. Additionally, Variety reports that he'll play the king in this year's Camila Cabello-starring take on "Cinderella," which still doesn't have a new release date following its COVID-related delay.

Beyond 2021, Brosnan is also set to appear as a king, more specifically Louis XIV, in the long-delayed fantasy film "The King's Daughter." He has also been cast as Doctor Fate in the DCEU's upcoming "Black Adam."

Christine Baranski is a television icon on The Good Fight

For how prolific and respected an actress she is, Christine Baranski doesn't do a lot of movies these days. Between "Mamma Mia!" and today, she has appeared in only eight, one of those being "Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!" In fact, looking back on Baranski's over 40-year career, most of the numerous accolades and honors she's received have been for her work on different media: the stage, in which her storied, two-time Tony-winning work was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 2018 (via Playbill), and television, which catapulted to stardom as a scene-stealer on the '90s Cybill Shepherd sitcom "Cybill."

Therefore, it's no surprise that Baranski's work post-"Mamma Mia!" has been primarily marked by her TV appearances. Fans of "The Big Bang Theory" will remember her well as Dr. Beverly Hofstadter, Leonard's cold, hyperintelligent neuroscientist mother — a recurring role that reunited her with "Cybill" creator Chuck Lorre. Starting right after "Mamma Mia" and still to this day, she has also been playing what could be described as her defining screen role: Diane Lockhart. The take-no-prisoners progressive lawyer and senior partner of Stern, Lockhart & Gardner became a legendary TV mentor throughout the seven seasons of CBS's "The Good Wife," earning Baranski critical fervor and a dedicated internet fanbase. When Diane was upgraded to protagonist status on the acclaimed CBS All Access spin-off "The Good Fight" (pictured above), Baranski's star shone even brighter, cementing her as one of the great television icons of our time. She is currently slated to star on "The Good Fight'"s eagerly-awaited fifth season (via Deadline).

Colin Firth is one of British cinema's most reliable stars

The surprisingly rich role of "Mamma Mia!'"s Harry, the former lover of Donna's who's discovered himself as a gay man since their affair, offered but a taste of what Colin Firth would deliver in the two following years. First as a suicidal college professor mourning his longtime boyfriend in Tom Ford's "A Single Man" and then as a king forced to overcome his stuttering problem to lead a nation at war in Tom Hooper's "The King's Speech," Firth suddenly revealed himself as one of the English-speaking world's very best working actors, after many years as a well-liked yet underappreciated romantic lead. The ensuing Oscar nominations and win put him on a path to become one of the U.K.'s most ubiquitous movie faces, and he still is just that to this day.

Firth's notable roles in the 2010s are numerous, from the veteran spy who recruits and mentors protagonist Eggsy (Taron Egerton) in the "Kingsman" franchise to the fake magician debunker who falls in love with his next target (Emma Stone) in "Magic in the Moonlight" to the British intelligence deputy with a pivotal role in the intrigue of "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." In 2019, he was one of the countless British actors to cameo in the Oscar-winning World War I film "1917." And, most recently, he earned yet another round of intense acclaim alongside Stanley Tucci for their performances in the romantic drama "Supernova," in which Firth plays a man trying to enjoy the time he has left with his terminally ill partner of 20 years (Tucci). All in all, Firth remains one of his country's most reliable screen thespians.