Land Rovers have been the stars of the silver screen since almost the beginning. From The Gods Must Be Crazy to James Bond, they’re a visual byword for Britain, Africa, or adventure. But in the enormous catalog of Rovers in film, there’s one entry that’s a little different from the others – 2008’s musical romantic comedy Mamma Mia!, based on the music of Swedish supergroup ABBA, in which Meryl Streep piloted a Series III 88” around Greece. With the sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, coming out this month, the Series III is once again the name of the game.
The original truck from 2008’s Mamma Mia!, a topless light blue Series III 88”, belonged to a Greek owner in the town of Chalkida, near where the film was being made in the area of Mount Pelion. After some inquiries with the Land Rover Club of Greece, they tracked the truck down, removed the windscreen, and painted it a lighter green to pop better on screen.
They also converted the truck to power steering – definitely not an original option – since Meryl Streep was having trouble steering it otherwise. Film stars don’t normally drive cars in movies; they’re towed around on trailers and dollies, so the cast can focus on acting. Streep fell in love with the truck though, and she took a chance on driving the Series III herself.
A decade later, with Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again filming in Greece again (by the way, has any movie ever had such a great built-in sequel title?), the producers went to look for the same green 88” to use in the new movie, set a decade after the first one. But apparently the Greek owner has promised to love his now-famous truck for ever more, and it now lives under lock and key in his garage. Not even a reunion with Meryl Streep would set it free.
With time slipping through their fingers, the production team turned their attention to searching every Land Rover classified ad they could get their hands on across Europe, and finally found a fitting truck in Germany. Since the new movie is set a decade later, they had to modify it to make it look like the original, but with an added ten years of abuse in the hot Greek sun factored in. Old Land Rovers are one of the very few cars that look good with a well-worn patina paint job, but usually, it’s earned over time, not created from a well-maintained truck! But when all was said and done, the German truck turned out to be a faithful doppelganger. The truck shows up in the first few seconds of the new trailer.
Amanda Seyfried, the actress playing the daughter of Streep’s character, posted a photo on her Instagram with the truck in September 2017 during filming. She seems pretty in love with it, as many Land Rover owners can understand. And who wouldn’t want to drive this truck around Greece? I do, I do, I do, I do, I do!
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