Page last updated at 15:51 GMT, Monday, 30 June 2008 16:51 UK

Actor Brosnan swaps Bond for Abba

Brosnan said he had 'the time of his life' making Mamma Mia

Former James Bond Pierce Brosnan has told the BBC how he risked ridicule to appear in Abba film musical Mamma Mia.

"All of us put our neck out on the line for this," he told BBC Breakfast. "That was what was so much fun about it."

The 55-year-old stars with Meryl Streep and Colin Firth in the film, which sees him and his fellow actors perform such Abba classics as SOS and Waterloo.

The film of the highly successful musical gets its world premiere in London's West End later.

"It was the last thing I expected to be offered," said the actor, who played secret agent 007 in four Bond films.

"To see an ex-MI6 thespian singing and dancing in the world of Mamma Mia... people are going to howl."

Meryl Streep (centre) in Mamma Mia
Meryl Streep plays the female lead in the exuberant musical

Adapted from the hit stage musical, Mamma Mia tells of a young bride-to-be who invites three men, one of whom she believes to be her father, to her wedding in Greece.

Streep plays her mother, whose holiday romance with Brosnan's character is re-ignited as a result of her daughter's ruse.

Abba members and songwriters Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus said they were initially reluctant about the idea of a Mamma Mia musical, but were eventually convinced by the producers of the show.

Ulvaeus admitted he was surprised by Abba's continued popularity.

'Not reluctant'

"This revival took me completely by surprise - I thought that was the end of it at the beginning of the 80s," he said.

Andersson added: "After the stage version had become a big hit people started to talk about a movie. It was only a matter of time when we would do it - but we were not reluctant this time."

Brosnan revealed he was offered the role while preparing to bury his late father.

"My dad has just died so I was over at my mum's house organising the funeral," he said.

"The phone went, it was my agent; he said Mamma Mia, Meryl Streep, Greece.

"I said, 'great, I'm in'. I didn't even ask how much."


Shooting the movie at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire gave Brosnan the chance to return to where he shot his four Bond films between 1995 and 2002.

"The first day at work I walked through those gates kicking ghosts out of the way left, right and centre," he said.

"I thought, what a glorious way to come back to this place that was my home, happily so, for many years on James Bond."

Mamma Mia will be released in the UK on 10 July.

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