'Mamma Mia 2' Cast Hails New Arrival Cher at World Premiere in London

Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for Universal Pictures
Cher (left) and Meryl Streep at the 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again' world premiere in London

Meryl Streep and Colin Firth were among those praising their 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again' co-star.

There was little doubt who was the main attraction at Universal's Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again world premiere Sunday in London.

Despite the presence of stars Colin Firth, Lily James, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried and even Meryl Streep on the blue carpet outside the Eventim Apollo — which was outfitted with flowers and real lemon trees in keeping with the film's Mediterranean setting — by far the loudest cheers were reserved for newcomer Cher. And it wasn't just from the crowds (one of whom brandished a homemade sign saying "Cher for President 2020").

"You don't mess with Cher!" said Tom Hanks, who served as executive producer on the film alongside his wife Rita Wilson. "We were all in awe, and a bit nervous."

Streep meanwhile claimed that Cher stole the movie, which lands almost 10 years to the day of the original ABBA-themed musical rom-com in 2008. "She's fantastic," she said, adding that on her first day on set, she walked in to find Cher singing. 

For director Ol Parker, there was only one person in mind for the role of Ruby Sheridan, mother to Donna Sheridan-Carmichael, played by both Streep and James (the sequel jumps between two time periods, one in 1979 and another in the early 2000s).

"I begged, I grovelled, I pleaded ... until she said yes," he admitted. "I refused to contemplate anyone else."

As for the woman herself, Cher claimed that she was actually "terrified" of joining a group of actors who had already become firm friends following the first Mamma Mia! outing. 

"I was going in as a stranger and thinking, 'What if they don't accept me?'" she said.

As it turned out, Cher had nothing to worry about. Parker revealed that, at the end of the shooting, the entire cast wanted their photo with her. "Everyone, including a former Bond and Mr. Darcy, was queuing for a picture!" he said. 

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is set to bow Friday.