Lily James Tried to Copy Meryl Streep's Hand Gestures in 'Mamma Mia 2'
Universal Pictures

The 'Downton Abbey' alum, who plays the younger version of Meryl's character, says of her focus while portraying Donna, 'I wanted to capture her gung-ho spirit.'

AceShowbiz - Lily James was focused on capturing the "feisty and brave" spirit of her character in new movie "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again".

The former "Downtown Abbey" actress plays a younger version of Donna, brought to life by Meryl Streep in the original hit 2008 film, in the upcoming ABBA-themed sequel.

Speaking about the challenges of taking on the part, Lily has maintained that accurately encapsulating Donna's personality had been her focus.

"I wanted to capture her gung-ho spirit," she told Rita Wilson, one of the film's executive producers, in an interview for Harper's Bazaar. "She's so feisty and brave and uninhibited. I wanted people to believe that my Donna could grow into that woman."

But channelling the free-spirited character wasn't the easiest of tasks and the 29-year-old also admitted that she had to do her homework.

"I watched the film to try and sprinkle in a few gestures that felt like Meryl," Lily confessed. "She uses her hands a lot. I also took note of the way she moves her hips and her body - it's so beautiful and grounded."

When questioned about what a modern audience might make of the 1970s-set plot, which sees Donna navigate three different love affairs and date freely, Lily praised her character for being unapologetic.

Specifically, she stated that she appreciated how Donna is "in control" of the choices she makes.

"Men behave like that all the time, so why not have a story where a girl follows her gut, going with whatever guys she fancies, and figuring it all out after? She's an intelligent, feisty young woman. I didn't want to apologise for that, ever," the star added.

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