Mamma Mia! Jane has role in musical movie

A FLORIST S lifelong dream of acting alongside Hollywood s finest has been fulfilled with a part in what is set to be one of this year s biggest blockbusters. Jane Foufas, who owns Black Iris Flowers in High Oaks, St Albans, has been involved with musical

A FLORIST'S lifelong dream of acting alongside Hollywood's finest has been fulfilled with a part in what is set to be one of this year's biggest blockbusters.

Jane Foufas, who owns Black Iris Flowers in High Oaks, St Albans, has been involved with musical theatre throughout her life but never imagined hitting the big time in her 50s.

Her part in the film version of the Abba musical Mamma Mia means millions of people across the globe will see her on the big screen alongside the likes of Meryl Streep, Julie Walters, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth.

The film, in which Jane plays the part of assistant cook Elpida, depicts the story of a mother and her about-to-be-married daughter who is on a quest to find her real father so that he can walk her down the aisle on her wedding day.

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The keen actress, who is involved with the St Albans Operatic Society, has always sought stardom but the momentum down when she had her two sons who are now in their 30s.

But it was down to her son Kosta that she got her dream role because he told her about the advert appealing for people to apply for Mamma Mia which he heard on a Greek radio station in London.

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Jane, who is of Greek descent along with her husband of 38 years, called the number, sent off photos of herself and then, by her own admission, "bugged them solidly" until they agreed to see her.

"I met up with the casting director and did some impromptu stuff for him, he filmed it and presented it to the director who said she was rather intrigued," recalled Jane.

Director Phyllida Lloyd, whom Jane praises enormously, took her on as part of the 12-strong Greek chorus which is present in every ensemble scene of the film adaptation of the nine-year-old musical.

She spent five months filming in Pinewood Studios before going to Greece for three weeks, during which time she got to know the Hollywood stars involved, all of whom Jane described as "charming".

She said they were incredibly down-to-earth and she found herself discussing such mundane matters as the weather with the superstars.

Jane became particularly fond of Meryl Streep. She said: "She was just lovely to everybody. She really is an amazing person, so gracious, and not a bit as you would expect a superstar to be."

Although Jane said the filming was the best experience of her life, she admitted it could be quite gruelling at times and by no means as easy as she believes people perceive it to be.

She also had the added pressure of ensuring that her business, which she has had for three years, was running smoothly while she was away.

The film, which also stars Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski, Stellan Skarsgard and Dominic Cooper, premiered last month in London and Jane attended with her younger son Cristo, who has his own radio show on LBC.

Jane had already seen the final product in a cast and crew screening but admitted that she felt somewhat apprehensive about seeing herself on a 30-foot-high cinema screen for the first time.

But she was bowled over by the film and the reception it got from the packed audience, all of whom were on their feet dancing to "Waterloo" by the time the end credits began rolling up the screen.

Jane is now hoping that this part will lead her on to equally-exciting projects and added: "I have lots of personal memories and in general it was just amazing experience which I hope to repeat.

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