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Baranski and Walters to Co-Star in Mamma Mia! Film?

According to the UK "Daily Mail", Christine Baranski and Julie Walters will round out the trio of leading ladies, opposite Meryl Streep, in the up-coming feature film adaptation of the musical Mamma Mia! No official film-studio announcement has been released to confirm or deny reports.

Baranski will reportedly play Tanya while Walters will play Rosie.  Actors previously announced to star in the movie include Meryl Streep (Donna), Amanda Seyfried (Sophie), Dominic Cooper (Sky), Pierce Brosnan (Sam), Colin Firth (Harry) and Stellan Skarsgaard (Bill).

Christine Baranski earned the 1984 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play from her role as Charlotte in The Real Thing.  She won the award again for her featured role as Chris Gorman in Rumors (1989).  Baranski starred as Mary Sunshine in the Academy Award-winning film adaptation of the musical Chicago directed by Rob Marshall.  In 2002 she portrayed Mrs. Lovett in the Kennedy Center production of Sweeney Todd.  She recently appeared as Mame Dennis in the 2006 Kennedy Center production of Mame.  Baranski garnered several awards and nominations for her role as Maryann Thorpe in the television series "Cybill."

Julie Walters is most recognized for her turn as the lovable Mrs. Weasley in the "Harry Potter" films.  In 1980 Walters won the Variety Critic's and London Critics Circle Awards for her debut performance in Willy Russel's Educating Rita.  She later earned a 1984 Academy Award nomination for the role in the feature film adaptation.  Walters was again an Academy Award nominee in 2001 as Mrs. Wilkinson in "Billy Elliot." 

"Variety" reports Mamma Mia! begins shooting on June 25, 2007 in London and Greece will be directed by Phyllida Lloyd who directed the stage show in New York and London with a screenplay by the stage show's book-writer Catherine Johnson.

The film will be produced by Judy Craymer of Littlestar films, with Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus executive producing. 

Inspired by the story-telling magic of ABBA's timeless songs, Mamma Mia! is a sunny, funny tale of family and friendship unfolds on a Greek island.  On the eve of her wedding, a daughter's quest to discover the identity of her father brings 3 men from her mother's past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago," state press notes on the show, which features in its score songs such as "Dancing Queen"; "The Winner Takes It All"; "Money, Money, Money" and "Take A Chance on Me."

There are currently 11 productions of the musical running around the world (9 resident productions and 2 tours). With three productions playing in North America alone, Mamma Mia! can be experienced in six different languages globally (English, Swedish, Spanish,  German, Japanese and Russian).   The show has earned a worldwide gross of over $1.6 billion and audiences of over 27 million people worldwide.

Photo of Christine Baranski, by Linda Lenzi


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