How ‘Mary Poppins’ star Emily Blunt and director Rob Marshall aimed to make a ‘joybomb on the soul’

LOS ANGELES TIMES – The star and director of “Mary Poppins Returns” sit close together on a settee in a hotel suite high above Central Park, thick as thieves, and suddenly they’re not Emily Blunt, Golden Globe-winning actress, and Rob Marshall, Hollywood’s Oscar-nominated go-to musical man.

It’s the “Em and Robbie” show.

There’s an exceedingly warm mutual admiration and a shorthand between the pair after two films together, a rapport that first sparked years ago over lunch for a project that didn’t pan out and blossomed when Blunt starred as the plucky baker’s wife in Marshall’s 2014 hit adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.”

Marshall calls Blunt an old soul and “my favorite actress.” She vows to lure him and his partner, John DeLuca, out of Manhattan and “convert them to Brooky-Brooks” — meaning Brooklyn, where she lives with husband John Krasinski.

The two are creatively simpatico, they say, which is a big part of how they found the confidence to attempt something as wildly ambitious as reviving one of the most beloved characters in cinematic history. Also, Marshall adds, it helps that they both like martinis.

Still, Blunt admits, she was surprised and terrified when Marshall called her one day after the success of “Into the Woods” to propose teaming up on a new project he wanted to make with Disney.

“He said, ‘By far their most prized possession is Mary Poppins,’ and I remember my hair blowing back from thrill and vague panic,” Blunt said with a laugh. But she said yes immediately, and the massive undertaking began.

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Emily Covers Variety’s Power of Women Issue

VARIETY – As soon as her husband finished describing the story, which centers on a family struggling to stay alive in a world in which lethal creatures hunt down anyone who makes noise, Blunt was convincing him to slide behind the camera, as well as star in the picture. After reading his re-write of the script, she realized that “A Quiet Place” should be their first on-screen pairing. She wanted to play Krasinski’s wife in the film, a pregnant mother desperate to keep her kids safe in a menacing world. But there was a catch.

“I read his version of the script and after previously saying he should cast a friend of mine, I was like, ‘you probably should call her,’” remembers Blunt. “I need to play this part.”

Critics loved the finished film, praising its thrills and scares, and audiences agree. “A Quiet Place” dominated the box office last weekend, picking up a mighty $50 million. Two weeks before the film premiered, Blunt braved a storm to sit down with Variety in New York to talk about the film, her upcoming role in “Mary Poppins Returns,” and how she’s navigating Hollywood in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Why did you want to play the part?

It represented my deepest fears in real life. It was something incredibly close to home for me, being a mother. I’m scared of being in a brutal world and not being able to protect my children.

Do you like horror films?

I never watched them. John did his research. He watched so many, and I was like I will not be watching any of them. I watched most of “Get Out” and then I panicked and couldn’t watch any more. I loved it, but films like that keep me up at night.

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33 Very Important Rapid-Fire Questions with Emily Blunt

Here’s yet another enjoyable feature with Emily for BuzzFeed UK–and the interview itself is also available in video form at the source. As you’ll see from the gifs, there’s many memorable moments with Emily here. I’ve also added some lovely photos of her taken for the website to the gallery. Enjoy.

BUZZFEED – Emily Blunt has been a constant on our cinema screens for over a decade now. She’s tried her hand at everything from comedy (with her iconic role in The Devil Wears Prada) to action (with Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario) to period drama (she played Queen Victoria in The Young Victoria) and even musicals (with 2014’s Into the Woods). With her latest role, she’s once again taking on something completely different: classic horror.

A Quiet Place, directed by and costarring Emily’s husband, John Krasinski, is not for the faint of heart. It’s a horror movie in the purest sense – so terrifying that you’ll be holding your breath and watching from behind your hands for the full 90 minutes – but at its core it’s also a heartbreakingly emotional story about parents just trying to do what’s best for their kids.

When we got the chance to chat with Emily in London recently, we jumped at the opportunity to talk about A Quiet Place, as well as a few other very important things…

Tea or coffee?
Emily Blunt: I have to say coffee now.

Because you’re American now?
EB: No, because I have children now and I need it! It used to be tea, but I’m going to go with coffee. I’m unable to get through the day without it.

How do you take it?
EB: Just with some milk. Regular milk.

Puppies or kittens?
EB: I’m allergic to cats, so it’s puppies.

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Emily Blunt: ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Will ‘Hopefully Stand Alone’

INDIEWIRE – Good things take time. Nearly 55 years after the original “Mary Poppins” dropped into theaters, care of Julie Andrews and her iconic umbrella, the film is finally getting a sequel, this one starring Emily Blunt as the eponymous nanny with a magical way of doing things. The film, “Mary Poppins Returns,” reteams Blunt with her “Into the Woods” director Rob Marshall, hinting that there will be no shortage of large-scale musical set pieces. Still, the biggest challenge for Blunt was the most obvious one: taking over such a beloved character, who also happened to be played by an equally as beloved actress.

“Rob Marshall sort of protected me from the idea that I felt like I was moving a boulder out of the way of this iconic role played by someone as iconic and as brilliant as Julie Andrews,” Blunt told IndieWire. “Ultimately, he allowed it to feel like an intimate process where I could just make her my own. It will be my interpretation of her, for better or worse.”

Set in Depression-era London, the film reintroduces the Banks kids — Jane and Michael, now adults — and picks up after a “personal loss” that has impacted both the siblings and Michael’s own trio of kids. Per the official synopsis, Mary uses her “unique magical skills” to help “the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives.”

The film stars Ben Whishaw as Michael and Emily Mortimer as Jane, along with Meryl Streep as Mary’s own “eccentric cousin” and Lin-Manuel Miranda as a lamplighting apprentice. Angela Lansbury, Julie Walters, and Colin Firth also appear, and original star Dick Van Dyke is reportedly on board for a cameo appearance.

“It’s beautiful. I’ve seen it,” Blunt said. “It’s absolutely magical, yet grounded and I think will hopefully stand alone as an independent feature. It’s the next chapter of Mary Poppins and I absolutely adored doing it.”

The actress didn’t rematch the original film during the process of making her own “Mary Poppins,” all the better to allow the character to become her own. “I tried not to be swayed by the details of what Julie did, so that I could really just have my own impression of her from the books,” she said.

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Ben Whishaw talks ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ and Emily Blunt’s ‘really original’ portrayal

METRO – The casting of Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins Returns was met with universal approval. That was hardly a surprise, as not only does the 34-year-old bear a striking resemblance to Julie Andrews but she possesses the same spirit and presence, too.

Ben Whishaw, who is playing Michael Banks in “Mary Poppins Returns,” has now opened up about his original reaction to Blunt’s casting, while also explaining how the actress has somehow managed the impossible by both “honoring the folk memory of Julie Andrews” and making the character “her own.”

“I just thought it was a brilliant piece of casting. I think she’s going to be incredible in the film. She’s a brilliant actress full-stop, but she’s also a brilliant comedian and a brilliant singer.”

“From what I have seen, and what I can gather, she is doing that very difficult thing of honoring the folk memory of Julie Andrews that is in everyone’s childhood, and also really making it her own role. That’s going back to the P.L. Travers books.”

“I think she has found something really original. I’m really excited to see it.”

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