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.
INDIEWIRE – Emily Blunt does not appear in the upcoming “Sicario” sequel, but that doesn’t mean we have seen the last of her character, Kate Macer. In an interview with CinemaBlend, franchise producer Trent Luckinbill revealed behind-the-scenes talks have already begun about bringing Blunt back into the fold to appear in a potential third “Sicario” movie.
“I think Taylor [Sheridan] certainly has some ideas about all of that, but we’re open to that world and certainly would love to bring Emily back,” Luckinbill said. “We haven’t written the script yet, but yeah it would make a lot of sense. We’re all fans of the movie, we’ve all come to the same conclusion, which is ‘It would be great to see her again.’ So I think we’re striking up those conversations now.”
Lionsgate has not greenlit a third “Sicario” film. The first sequel, “Day of the Soldado,” centers around the characters played by Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin and opens in theaters later this month. The sequel is already earning strong reactions from critics, and a third film will be a no-brainer if “Soldado” takes off at the box office.
“Sicario” screenwriter Taylor Sheridan previously admitted he’s the reason Blunt’s character was not included in the sequel. Sheridan told The Wrap in November 2016 he felt Blunt’s character completed her arc by the end of the first movie and he didn’t want to disrespect the actress by bringing her back for something aimless in the sequel.
“Her arc was complete [and] I couldn’t figure out a way to write a character that would do her talent justice,” Sheridan said. “What do you do next? She moves to some little town and becomes a sheriff and then gets kidnapped and then we have ‘Taken? I had to tell the story that was true to this role, and I didn’t feel like I could create something with that character that would further that world that would do Emily’s character justice.”
Despite not including Blunt in “Soldado,” Sheridan admitted at the time “there could be room for [Blunt’s character] somewhere else down the road.” Blunt expressed interest in playing Kate Macer again during an interview with IndieWire earlier this year, saying she loved the experience making the original and would definitely come back if she had the chance.
“Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado” opens in theaters June 29.
VULTURE – Since April, media coverage of the Paramount Pictures horror hit A Quiet Place has generally coalesced into two distinct groupings. There are the “Can you believe Jim from The Office made such a good movie?”–type of profiles that came out right around the $17 million film’s release in early April — detailing how John Krasinski surpassed all expectations to co-write, direct, and star in the ecstatically reviewed family drama/monster movie, his first foray into genre fare as either a filmmaker or an actor. Then there are the financial over-performance analyses announcing how A Quiet Place made “noise at the box office,” capturing the top spot in its first and third weekends in theaters, becoming Paramount’s most profitable film since 2015’s Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation, and racking up more than $300 million worldwide in less than two months to rank as the year’s third-highest-grossing film and most surprising breakout success.
But to hear it from the filmmakers and production executives who worked behind the scenes to develop the material and guide it through the studio system — namely, Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, who co-wrote and executive produced A Quiet Place, and Brad Fuller and Andrew Form, co-founders of the production company Platinum Dunes, who produced it — there’s a competing narrative that has received far less media scrutiny. They point out the creative leaps of faith required to make an original film like AQP in modern Hollywood’s risk-phobic, cinematic-universe-obsessed, IP-chasing marketplace, while also laying out all the ways the project could have failed to achieve liftoff.
Containing almost no dialogue, and based on an oddball 67-page screenplay full of maps and diagrams and Photoshopped images, the project was willfully dissimilar to anything coming out of the studios’ major moviemaking pipeline. The writers were actively discouraged from even putting together what some people close to them dismissed as their “silent movie.” Nothing in Krasinski’s filmic oeuvre suggested the affable Everyman actor — whose two previous directorial efforts, Brief Interviews With Hideous Men and The Hollars combined to gross just over $1 million — was even remotely capable of handling the material. Many of the executives who originally gave A Quiet Place the green light were either fired or quit Paramount during a recent regime change — an outcome that has orphaned or derailed many films in the past. Then when the earliest cuts of AQP were first screened at the studio, missing visual-effects shots and incomplete sound design made the movie seem almost incomprehensible, leading some to doubt its commerciality. And it wasn’t until the film premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March that anyone had any inkling it could connect with audiences.
“The movie was risky on every level,” says Form. “You start reading [the script] and go, ‘Oh, there’s no dialogue.’ The idea was so original. And here we are coming to the studio with John: ‘This is the guy we’re betting on to star, write and direct this movie for us. And we’re all in on him! You have to trust us. We’re not going to let you down.’”
Rounding off her busy press commitments for A Quiet Place, Emily stopped by Live with Kelly and Ryan to discuss the film, taking on the role of Mary Poppins, and her thoughts of the rumors of her becoming the next 007 in the James Bond franchise. You can skip straight to her interview at the 16:00 mark in the video below.
Emily Blunt popped by the Absolute Radio studios to chat to Pete Donaldson about her incredible new film A Quiet Place, if stories about her being the next James Bond are true, and the strangest rumours she’s heard about herself!
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.
How wonderful is this? The biggest opening weekend of Emily’s career–by far. Not only are we extremely happy for her, but also for husband John Krasinksi, and everyone else involved in bringing the project to life. Congratulations everyone!
TIME – John Krasinksi’s “A Quiet Place” made a thunderous debut at the box office, opening with $50 million in ticket sales and rumbling to the year’s second-best weekend after “Black Panther,” according to studio estimates Sunday.
The Paramount Pictures thriller far exceeded expectations to land one of the top opening weekends for a horror release. It marks an unlikely breakthrough for Krasinski, the former “Office” star many associate more with inter-office romance and deadpan expressions than silent cinematic frights. Krasinski’s third directing effort, which stars himself and wife Emily Blunt is about a family in a future dystopia populated by violent creatures with extremely acute hearing.
But it was far from the only success story on the weekend, which also saw Universal’s R-rated comedy “Blockers” open solidly with $21.4 million, Steven Spielberg’s virtual-reality adventure “Ready Player One” dip only 40 percent with $25.1 million in its second weekend and the period docudrama “Chappaquiddick” beat expectations with a debut of $6.2 million. In limited release, Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs,” Lynne Ramsay’s “You Were Never Really Here” and Andrew Haigh’s “Lean on Pete” all did well, too.
For one weekend, at least, just about everything Hollywood could throw at moviegoers worked. The weekend was up 35.3 percent from last year.
But nothing approached the runaway success of “A Quiet Place.” Hollywood had forecast closer to $30 million for the film, which cost just $17 million to make. Yet “A Quiet Place” rode strong buzz from its SXSW premiere in March, good reviews (97 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) and moviegoers’ continuing thirst for horror.
“We always knew we had something special from the first screenings. But you don’t get to a number like this without breaking free of the genre. I think this is about great storytelling,” said Kyle Davies, head of domestic distribution for Paramount, who heaped praise on Krasinski. “We’re looking forward to what else he has up his sleeve.”