Page last updated at 20:40 GMT, Monday, 30 June 2008 21:40 UK

Stars go Greek for Mamma Mia! gala

By Michael Osborn
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Pierce Brosnan and Meryl Streep
Stars Pierce Brosnan and Meryl Streep enjoyed the Leicester Square view

London's Leicester Square was transformed into a star-studded Greek paradise for the world premiere of Mamma Mia! the movie.

Hollywood superstars Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Pierce Brosnan were joined by home-grown talent Colin Firth and Julie Walters on a blue carpet meant to capture the film's Greek island setting.

The landmark was also decorated with lemon trees - adorned with fake fruits - and a Greek church which were fittingly bathed by the summer sun.

As the stars arrived, Abba's legendary hits from the stage musical filled the square to the delight of hundreds of fans who had gathered to catch a glimpse of the impressive guest list.

No reunion

They clutched cameras, autograph books and Greek flags which emphasised the film's Aegean leanings.

Three members of the Swedish supergroup turned out for the occasion - Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad.

Meryl Streep reveals why she wanted to play Donna in Mamma Mia

But Andersson, a co-producer of the new movie, was quick to issue an emphatic "no" to a possible reunion of the quartet, and added that the Mamma Mia! project was now over.

"This is the end of it, I think. But it's no retirement. I'll continue to write. We're going to do something else, but I don't know what yet," said the musician.

Andersson added that the atmosphere in Leicester Square was "absolutely wonderful", and said the whole Mamma Mia! project - both stage show and film - had been a "joy".

The Swede said that his involvement in promoting the film would end after Friday's premiere in Stockholm, enabling him to put his feet up.

Fur coat

Film legends Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, Mamma Mia's executive producer, took their time working the azure carpet, with Streep keen to sign as many autographs for fans as possible.

Hanks was unsure which Abba song is his favourite - finally settling on Ring, Ring, while Julie Walters was unable to pin down her top track.

But the Oscar nominee said that she had become "bosom buddies" with Streep after being "together all the time" for five months while the film was made.

Benny Andersson
This is the end of it, I think
Abba's Benny Andersson on the chances of more from Mamma Mia!

There was less adulation for young British actor Dominic Cooper, who plays Sky in the film - but he had the support of friend and Gavin and Stacey star James Corden.

"I had no confidence or faith in my vocal abilities whatsoever, but I though there's just one thing to do and that's go for it," he said of his audition to land the part.

"I always thought I wasn't an Abba fan until a girlfriend from the time sent me a video of me in a fur coat singing Money, Money, Money and knowing all the lyrics," he confessed.

The film, which is released in the UK on 10 July, tells the story of teenager Sophie Sheridan, who is unaware who her father is as her wedding day approaches.

After reading a diary belonging to her mother (Meryl Steep), Sophie invites the three potential candidates to the wedding, and the story is peppered with the hits of Abba.

The stage version opened in 1999 and has become one of the most successful musicals of all time.

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