Philippine Daily Inquirer

Mam­maMia, Cher is here again

- RUBEN V. NEPALES

L(Con­clu­sion) OS AN­GE­LES— Cher’s union with Sonny Bono (who passed away in 1998) pro­duced Chaz Bono, who un­der­went fe­male-to-male gen­der tran­si­tion in 2008. She has an­other son, Eli­jah All­man, with her sec­ond hus­band, singer­mu­si­cian Gregg All­man who died in 2017.

“Chaz was just on ‘Amer­i­can Hor­ror Story,’” Cher proudly gave an up­date of her sons. “And Eli­jah is work­ing on some mu­sic right now. He’s do­ing a project that I can’t talk about, but it’s re­ally in­ter­est­ing. It’s some­thing that he’s never done or I didn’t even think he would be do­ing.”

Cher un­der­stands that hav­ing her—a color­ful, pop­u­lar, larger-than-life per­son­al­ity—as a mom must have been quite an ex­pe­ri­ence for Chaz and Eli­jah. “It’s not fun for them,” she quipped with a chuckle. “I’ve been fa­mous their whole lives. It’s been a pain for them.

“This is so silly, but I re­mem­ber go­ing to Olvera Street (in Los An­ge­les) with Chaz. We were hav­ing the best time, then all these peo­ple were com­ing up and I fi­nally said, ‘Chaz, go sit in the bus.’ It was a school trip, but be­cause it was just ru­in­ing ev­ery­thing. Pho­tog­ra­phers—that’s scary for a child.”

“They know who I am, but the out­side per­son­al­ity doesn’t have too much to do with me or them, be­cause I don’t go around look­ing like this,” con­tin­ued the star, all glammed up in black vel­vet with gold/yel­low print ac­cents, her face framed by a mass of brunette curls. “When I’m at home, I’m in sweat­pants and no makeup. That’s how they know me bet­ter, and that’s how they know me more.”

While she plays a grandma in “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” she’s not yet one in real life. “I don’t have any grand­chil­dren. I wish I did. Grand­par­ents are more fun than par­ents. I poured my grand­mother’s per­fume down the toi­let once. And all she did was laugh and say, ‘Oh, isn’t she adorable? What a funny thing.’ One of my grand­moth­ers was eas­ier to get along with than the other, but I got along with both of them.

“In this movie, I’m not so wel­come be­cause I wasn’t such a great role model. So when Amanda (Seyfried, back as So­phie) says, ‘What are you do­ing here? You’re not in­vited,’ it takes my char­ac­ter a lit­tle while to earn her way back into the fam­ily.”

Cher, Andy Gar­cia and Lily James are the new­com­ers in the cast. Ev­ery­one else from “Mamma Mia!” is back, aside from Amanda: Meryl Streep, Do­minic Cooper, Chris­tine Baran­ski, Pierce Bros­nan, Colin Firth, Stel­lan Skars­gard and Julie Wal­ters.

Of Abba’s Benny An­der­s­son and Björn Ul­vaeus, who com­posed the quar­tet’s hits, Cher said, “I have met Benny, but I haven’t met Björn. But this is crazy. I was look­ing at some­thing on the com­puter and it came up—that great mu­sic video with the pup­pets. That was their last video and all of a sud­den, I’m in it. I didn’t re­ally re­mem­ber do­ing it, then it came back to me, but I don’t know why they asked me to do it.

“I’m just stand­ing there in the record­ing stu­dio with a bunch of other peo­ple and I’m rock­ing out to them and ap­plaud­ing. So, there was no rea­son for it. I have no idea what hap­pened, but I didn’t re­al­ize that I was re­ally a fan.”

She added, “I sent Benny a text. I never re­al­ized how com­pli­cated the ABBA songs were be­cause they sound just like reg­u­lar pop songs. They go from one hook to an­other, then all the mu­sic is hooked.

“So, I re­ally liked their big hits. Not all of them, but then I re­mem­ber when I saw ‘ Muriel’s Wed­ding,’ that was when I got hooked to their mu­sic. I be­came en­am­ored with them, and in this movie, the songs are so amaz­ing.”

Asked whose ca­reer is per­fect, Cher had a quick an­swer: “It would be Meryl’s ca­reer. I can’t think of any­one bet­ter. She bal­ances her life

well. And she’s easy­go­ing. I emailed her, and went, ‘I’m not happy with the way I look in one (photo con­tact) sheet (for the movie)—I’m too dark. She wrote me back, ‘Stop it, OK. It doesn’t make any dif­fer­ence. Just give it up and let it go.’ And I went, al­right. But I didn’t let it go (laughs).”

The two ac­tresses have re­mained friends since they made “Silk­wood” 35 years ago. “We’re al­ways in touch,” Cher stressed. “She did a re­ally funny thing. I was on the set one day, and I was do­ing my song. I saw this shad­owy fig­ure lurk­ing around one side. Meryl had snuck onto the set to watch me do my song. Then af­ter­ward, she just came up, and she was squeal­ing. We were laugh­ing and hug­ging each other. My as­sis­tant said she had been there the whole time. We talk and email and do stuff all the time.”

On how she finds time to be an ac­tress, singer, live con­cert per­former, phi­lan­thropist, song­writer and pro­ducer, among oth­ers, Cher an­swered, “I don’t know. I should be dead (laughs). I don’t do it very well. I usu­ally pick too many projects at one time, but I usu­ally do the thing that sounds like the most fun. I’ve got­ten my­self into a lot of trou­ble.

“Like when some­one asks, ‘Do you want to sing “The StarS­pan­gled Ban­ner”?’ ‘Sure, that sounds like fun.’ Then, you get there (‘Su­per Bowl’ in 1999), and you’re ter­ri­fied. It was one of the most ter­ri­fy­ing ex­pe­ri­ences I’ve ever had. But, that’s how I al­ways pick things.”

Asked about the up­side and down­side of be­ing Cher, she replied, “It de­pends. There are lots of neg­a­tive and pos­i­tive. You can’t get some­thing for noth­ing.

“It had more of an ef­fect on the peo­ple around me and the peo­ple I’ve been with as hus­bands or boyfriends. But it’s just my life—some­times it’s great, and some­times it’s not.

“So, I can’t sum it up. It’s im­pos­si­ble to do that. It’s like if some­one says, sum up your life, and you go, oh, some­times it’s good and some­times I want to tear my hair out.”

Any re­grets? “We don’t have enough time (to talk about those),” she cracked with an­other one of her trade­mark laugh­ter. “But yeah, there are re­grets. Fail­ure is nec­es­sary. Fail­ure is highly un­der­rated be­cause when you are suc­cess­ful, you never go, oh my God, why am I hav­ing this? But, when you’ve just had a fail­ure, you think about it. You ru­mi­nate, and you want to ex­plore it—and it makes you bet­ter.” E-mail rvnepales_5585@ya­hoo.com. Fol­low him at http://twit­ter.com/ nepalesrub­en.

 ?? —CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO ?? Singer-ac­tress Cher in “Mamma Mia! Here WeGo Again”
—CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO Singer-ac­tress Cher in “Mamma Mia! Here WeGo Again”
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