Relive Chris Klein's Admittedly "Terrible" Mamma Mia! Audition

"I took a chance," the actor said in hindsight

By Zach Johnson Jul 20, 2018 3:45 PMTags

Rest assured, everyone in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again can sing!

The entire cast from 2008's Mamma Mia! is back for the Universal Pictures sequel, directed by Ol Parker; newcomers include Cher (as Ruby), Alexa Davies (as Young Rosie), Josh Dylan (as Young Bill), Andy García (as Fernando), Lily James (as Young Donna), Jessica Keenan Wynn (as Young Tanya), Jeremy Irvine (as Young Sam) and Hugh Skinner (as Young Harry). The first film turned Dominic Cooper into a movie star, but had director Phyllida Lloyd gone in a different direction, Chris Klein could have been cast—that is, if the actor could carry a tune. Years ago, Klein's admittedly "terrible" audition tape leaked, and before long, he became a viral sensation.

The wide-eyed American Pie star began his tryout by bantering with the casting director. "You guys had Mandy Moore in here? She is an angel of angels," Klein said in the video. "I don't know if you guys saw American Dreams that her and I did together, where I too sing—hopefully better here than I did there. That was acting. Maybe slight singing. She is just a dream come true—you should hire her on the spot. She's amazing." Appearing nervous, Klein got down to business and told the casting director, "Let's go, shall we? Before I embarrass myself further..."

Behind the Scenes of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

And then...he embarrassed himself further. Klein's awkward (but spirited!) rendition of ABBA's "Lay All Your Love on Me" was cringeworthy and off-key. A few years later, he admitted to Popcorn's Peter Travers, "It's kind of amazing to wake up one morning and you see an audition that you did two years ago be on YouTube. You think, 'Oh, wow! That was terrible! That was a really horrible thing.' But keep in mind, those things are never meant for the public to see; it should be an avenue for actors to go take chances and give their best and see what comes out."

He also told The Huffington Post, "I took a chance. I can't sing! I don't know why I was in there. But I took a chance! It's a musical—let's see if I can give it a shot. And, you know, the way that they put it out there, it gets taken out of context and all that...It was really a dreadful audition."

Klein got in on the joke in 2010 when he filmed a parody video. "It's kind of a big favor to me, because I had been really, really trying to pitch a good idea to Funny or Die for a long time. I'd been a big fan. Their comedy on that website is so incredibly smart, and I'd been thinking of an idea to pitch them. And right there, that moment, I said, 'Wow!'" he told Travers. "And listen, between you and I, that probably wasn't my worst audition. Hopefully the rest will stay quiet."

Where singing is concerned, Klein realized, "Apparently I'm not cut out for that!"

(E! and Universal Pictures are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)