ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY – Life tip: Catch up on your chores before Mary Poppins commands you this Christmas. Or, conversely, don’t, and find that the banal things like bathtime will become brilliant when there’s a magical nanny around to help you discover the joy in the job.
Eighty-four years after writer P. L. Travers debuted the enigmatic nanny Mary Poppins on the page, and 54 years after Julie Andrews immortalized her onscreen in Disney’s 1964 classic, it’s now Emily Blunt, director Rob Marshall, and an all-star cast who are shepherding Mary Poppins back to Cherry Tree Lane for this winter’s Mary Poppins Returns (Dec. 19).
“There’s never been a moment when I’ve felt like I want to in any way re-do the original,” explains Marshall, who directed, among other movie-musicals, the Oscar-winning Chicago. “The thing that’s so mortifying is when people say it’s a remake. Never. No one could touch that,” he continues. “But can we continue the tradition of that storytelling with our own cast, with our own world, with our own sensibility? There’s so much more story to tell, and it’s because the character’s so great.”
It’s right back here on Cherry Tree Lane, some 25-odd years after the first film, that the story of Mary Poppins and the Banks family continues: An economic slump has claimed the Banks family home and a tragedy has claimed the wife of grown-up Michael (Ben Whishaw), leaving him, his three children, and sister Jane (Emily Mortimer) without much hope or happiness these days. That’s the jumping-off point for the vision of Marshall, producers John DeLuca and Marc Platt, and screenwriter David Magee.
In the filmmakers’ effort to embrace the 1964 film but stay true to the further adventures of Travers’ eight-book children’s series, “we felt it was important to not only reflect the depression era [of the books], but that there had to be a very important reason for Mary to come back,” says Marshall. “It had to be something true and real, and so in our film, Michael’s a young father who has three kids and has not only lost his wife, but because of the time period, has also lost his whole sense of wonder and joy and optimism.”
Enter the plausibly implausible Mary, who brings with her the kind of adventures you’d expect of the beloved nanny — not to mention the tunes, written by veteran songwriting team Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Mary charms the dread out of household chores (“In our film, taking a bath becomes a magical adventure,” says Marshall); introduces the Bankses to more of her eccentric relatives (like Meryl Streep’s oddball cousin Topsy); and kicks up her heels. In particular, Blunt and costar Lin-Manuel Miranda (who plays a street-smart, singing lamplighter) shine in one of the film’s showstopping numbers, “Trip a Little Light Fantastic,” a musical gambol through London, pictured exclusively above.
“She’s just such fun to play,” gushes Blunt, who took her principal Poppins inspiration from Travers’ novels and the film His Girl Friday. “I’m so different from this character, but I do know a lot of people like her, so it does feel familiar,” she continues. “The dancing is the thing I really had to learn. Lin and I are not trained dancers in any way, so that was the most arduous part. You see why dancers have the best bodies on planet Earth. You just pour with sweat all day.”
Well, fortunately, we know someone who makes bathtime quite the enchanted experience.
We’ve updated the gallery with some lovely photos of Emily and John attending the TIME 100 Gala at the Lincoln Center in New York. The event celebrated the magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, and John was one of the honorees. You can find the full list of those honored by clicking here.
We’ve updated the gallery with some wonderful photos of Emily attending Variety’s Power of Women event at Cipriani Wall Street in New York. Other attendees at the event included Alicia Keys, Christine Baranski, Emily Mortimer, Tina Fey and Viola Davis. Be sure to take a look-and check back for further coverage.
VARIETY – Emily Blunt discussed how women are transforming the world during Variety’s Power of Women event in New York.
Blunt said the topic of girls’ education “moves and matters” to her greatly. After recounting daily conversations with her 4-year-old daughter, Hazel, about what she learned in school (“The other night … she said, ‘Do you know how to get to Harlem? You take the A train, it’s the quickest way’”), the actress said she learns from her children.
“They yearn to learn, they crave it,” she said of her daughters. “They are lucky enough — and as was I and as were most girls that I knew growing up — that your dreams were never going to fall on deaf ears, and that your thoughts and voice mattered and could make a difference.”
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.
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.