British actress Lily James got emotional when it was time to meet her “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” co-star Meryl Streep.
“[Meryl] was singing this song in a chapel and it was so emotional,” she tells PorterEdit. “I was sat outside knowing I was about to meet her. And crying. And it was like: ‘Hold it together, Lily!’ It was too much!”
In the musical sequel, James plays the younger version of Streep’s character, Donna Sheridan. The 29-year-old “Cinderella” actress went on a Meryl Marathon, watching the films of the Academy Awards’ most-nominated actress of all time.
“I tried not to focus on the Meryl Streep-ness of it all, but tried to focus on the Donna Sheridan-ness of it all,” she says. “Having said that, I did go through all of Meryl’s movies, especially stuff from when she was younger. I loved watching ‘Postcards from the Edge’ – there’s a spunky kind of madness where she sings in that – and even ‘Death Becomes Her’.”
The veteran actress made her co-star feel at ease on the set.
“[Meryl] was just so cool. We had to do this dance together and she gave it all to me, she let me take my moment,” James explains. But the actress nearly missed her chance to star opposite Streep in the upcoming musical.
She almost didn’t audition for “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” because the script read-through was scheduled opposite the annual Glastonbury Festival, which she and boyfriend Matt Smith planned to attend.
“It was a real argument!” she says jokingly of her beau, whom she met on the set of the film “Pride And Prejudice And Zombies” in 2015. But in the end, “The Crown” actor collected her from the audition and the couple immediately drove to the festival.
“We went straight to Glastonbury and I think I got the part that weekend, but my agents knew not to call me, because I wouldn’t have been reachable!” she exclaims.