Q. Have these new singers looked after your songs well?
Benny: Absolutely! I’ve been with them all the time, so there’s been nothing to be afraid of.
Q. Has changing the songs for the movie been a difficult task?
Benny: Not much. When we decided that this is going to be a movie, I said I want to be in there from Day One. So what happened is, I went back to our old musicians that played on the old ABBA records and we went back into the studio, me and three of them and did all the backing tracks. The Swedish Mamma Mia! cast did all the backing vocals and then I’ve been meeting the cast here in London. They’d been rehearsing with Martin Lowe our musical director. I tried to stay as close to our originals as I possibly can, in terms of arrangement and sound and everything – adding just some small things so that it’s not exactly the same – and then the difference is just the voices. That makes a big difference, obviously it does, but I’m really happy with the result and I think the soundtrack is bloody great!
Q. Would you be tempted to write the score for an original film next?
Benny: I don’t know. We shall see. After this and after the Stockholm premiere, I’m going to take like two months off and then we shall see – but it would be nice to do another movie project because this has been such a joyful journey. Watching Phyllida Lloyd working on this all the way through, and witnessing her elegance and skill for this has been a joy, absolutely. I want to do this again. I like the film but I’ve not seen it with a public audience. I’m looking forward to tonight to see what the audience’s reaction will be.
Q. How does it feel to be here?
Björn: More than 30 years after we wrote these songs, here we are. The first World Premiere for me, in London, in Leicester Square is absolutely fantastic.
Q. These fans here, singing along, know all the words to all the songs, does that still amaze you?
Björn: Yes. How did that happen? I don’t know!
Q. It took you a while to agree to the stage production, how long did it take you to decide to do the movie?
Björn: I would say about one year or so into the stage version. When we’d done London, Toronto and Broadway, we were approached by several people, among whom at the very beginning was Tom Hanks’ company Playtone and we said “yeah – sometime in the future we’ll do a film.” But we didn’t know when. Then about a year and a half ago, we thought ‘why not now?’. I mean Mamma Mia! here in London is going to be 10 years old and well, you never know when the timing is right but we decided to do it.
Q. It must have been so important to get the cast right?
Björn: To get the cast right for this was quite a task at first but when we got Meryl Streep, everyone wanted to do it.
Q. Did you enjoy your cameo role at the end of the film?
Björn: Yes. It is, I think, a very subtle cameo – in what was a bit like the costumes we used to wear!
Q. Would you be tempted to go down the route that Phil Collins has and write the score for a Disney film?
Björn: No. I think it would have to be completely original material.
Q. Is there enough material for Mamma Mia! 2?
No, there isn’t! There won’t be a sequel!!
Benny and Björn at the World Premiere in London