ABBA - The Movie

In Their Own Words

excerpt from the book ABBA In Their Own Words, compiled by Rosemary York
(UK; Omnibus Press 1981)

Björn: They wanted us to make a film in Australia, but quite honestly I don't think that films with pop stars work very well. Of course The Beatles are an exception and ‘Tommy’ was a big hit but there have been lots of other pop films that have sunk without trace.

Björn: Seeing the film came as a bit of a shock. It's hard to recognise yourself up there on a giant screen in Panavision. But then we've had many moments when it has been hard to accept the things that have been happening to us.

What we would like to do is write a musical - this has been our dream for many years.

Agnetha: I really liked the idea from the beginning, and now I've seen the film for the first time, I can see that I was right. I'm very pleased with the result. I really do appreciate the scenes with the children. Having children of your own makes such scenes really funny! The small part of 'acting' that we did after the Australian tour was over was real fun. I'm thinking of the dream sequences with Ashley. To make the film realistic, the other actors pretended to be real people, including Ashley, the journalist.

Frida: I wondered who this odd, pushy journalist was. He kept desperately asking strange questions all the time and always wanted us to "go someplace where it was a little quieter."

Not all the band were convinced about the wisdom of making the film:

Benny: We were very suspicious right from the start, especially me. I had my reasons because of the flop we had with The Hep Stars film.

That was my first experience with film. It didn't leave much desire to get involved with it again.

For a long time my attitude towards the film was so negative that I didn't want to allow Lasse to shoot on stage during the concerts. I thought the film crew disrupted us and the audience. After seeing just how well these sequences were turning out, I understood that this was very different from our Nairobi catastrophe and changed my mind.

Frida: We hope that 'The Movie' will keep us in the spotlight, so to speak, while we work on other, longer term plans.

Agnetha: We really needed a rest that year, and the movie provided it for us. There's a limit to what we can take in the way of touring, and just to grab ourselves some relaxation, some family life. It was pure heaven.

What about more films?

Björn: That'll take some time, probably never, but we'd like to do a musical and are looking for material to work with. We'd in fact discussed doing Alice In Wonderland, but during Stig's last trip to the U.S. he discovered that someone else had beaten us to it. That musical opened on Broadway the same week. So now we are back to looking around again.

It isn't ABBA's intention to play in the show themselves- maybe the girls only- but we'll naturally record a soundtrack album and possibly film it afterwards. We'll be getting down to work after Christmas, and if we get things done we might get what we all are dreaming of- an entire summer to ourselves.

I'd like to do some film soundtracking, it would be a great challenge, Very interesting, but the right film hasn't come along yet. But film people, there's something very strange about them, they don't realise the importance of music sometimes.

Frida: I've even done screen tests for an ordinary film role. I was tested for a part in the Swedish children's film 'Elvis Elvis: There were three tests, and l missed it because was so nervous for the last one.

Frida made a film called 'Walk On Water If You Can,' located in Spain:

Frida: I was very pleased to appear in a truly dramatic film. When I heard that the film was being produced by the Swedish Film Institute I asked for a part. I enjoyed the break from ABBA but I'd never forsake the group for a film career.

Agnetha: I'd consider the offer of making a film very seriously, although in fact I've recently turned down one producer. He wanted me for the kind of rude film for which Sweden has become rather notorious.

I don't want to create a sexy image. With me, as with all of us, the music is the important thing.

©1981 by Omnibus Press

Behind the scenes
The Secret Guide to ABBA - THE MOVIE