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ScreenTimes: Mary Poppins Returns

Logan Hill, veteran New York Times contributor, hosts an advance screening of the all-new original musical “Mary Poppins Returns,” followed by a conversation with Academy Award-nominated director Rob Marshall and Academy Award-nominated stars Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda. In this sequel to the beloved Disney classic, Mary Poppins returns to help the next generation of the Banks family find the joy and wonder missing in their lives following a personal loss.

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‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Entertainment Weekly Feature

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY – “Everybody’s walking around with their cheeks a little pinker, and you just know that everybody…they’ve got a secret. They’ve got something really good under wraps until Christmas.”

That’s the picture Meryl Streep paints for EW of the set of Mary Poppins Returns, Disney’s high-stakes, high-magic sequel to the 1964 musical classic. Any number of elements from the original film — its indelible songs by Richard and Robert Sherman, its career-making performances by Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, its significant strides in animated penguin awareness — have amounted to Mary Poppins being nothing less than a crown jewel for Disney for more than five decades. So it’s only natural that all eyes are now on the people entrusted with bringing Mary Poppins back to audiences this December — and as EW learned spending time with them for this week’s cover, the cast and filmmakers behind Mary Poppins Returns feel they’re sitting on a movie with more than a little shine of its own.

Sharing the cover of EW’s Holiday Preview, Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda sat down for a conversation about the biggest movie of their careers (and perhaps the most ambitious sequel of the year that doesn’t involve an Avenger). Blunt, 35, was director Rob Marshall’s first choice to inherit the role of magical nanny Mary Poppins — and Julie Andrews gave her approval as well — yet for Blunt, stepping into the iconic part required a stiff upper lip. “I did, going into this, [hear] the preamble of everyone turning to me — including a friend of mine who said, ‘You’ve got balls of steel’ — and I would just try to allow all of that to be white noise and really approach her as I would any other character,” recalls Blunt, who first began collaborating with Marshall on 2014’s Into the Woods. “The beauty of Rob is that he kept it intimate enough so that you don’t feel the bigness too much. We just focused on this story and these people and this moment.”

But Blunt allowed the gravity of Mary Poppins to seep in every once in a while, like when Dick Van Dyke came to set and serenaded her with “Jolly Holiday” between takes…or when she revisited the original film after wrapping (“I showed my oldest daughter and it was this incredible two-pronged emotion because I thought, ‘Thank God I didn’t watch this before I did the movie’”)…or when she visited Miranda backstage at Hamilton in 2015 — her third time doing so, yet the first since they had both signed on to the film. “The whole project was cloaked in a sense of protection, and by that time it had sunk in that it was happening,” she recalls. “It was becoming so deep in my bones that I was going to be doing this, and that first overwhelming rush of thrill and fear when I got offered this role had diluted to something quite real… and so I think it was exciting knowing that Lin and I were going to be playing cohorts and kindred spirits.” Miranda remembers that night just a bit differently: “That was a really stressful show,” he laughs. “I felt like I was auditioning for Mary Poppins, the person.”

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Vogue Cover Story

After confirmation of her cover for the magazine several months back, we finally have our first look at Emily’s Vogue shoot for the December issue. Co-star Lin-Manuel Miranda also features in the editorial, which shows both in character for the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns. I really love these photos, and hopefully we’ll see at least a few more in the coming weeks! I’ve added an except of the article below, but you can view the full story here.

VOGUE – PRECISELY WHAT IS MARY POPPINS? We know her to be a humanoid who does not age, is capable of tele­kinesis, is not constricted by the ordinary bounds of time, space, and gravity, and flies through the air with the aid of an umbrella, albeit in upright, duck-footed fashion. She is stern, fastidious, and speaks with a posh accent, but enjoys vaguely romantic relationships with common laborers. She is beloved by children and former children the world over, yet is, when contemplated at an intellectual distance, utterly unknowable, even bizarre.

“She’s a superhero,” says Emily Blunt without hesitation. “You could say she’s some sort of angel. She recognizes what people need, and she gives it to them, yet they discover something about themselves in the process.” With a rather Mary Poppins–like firmness, Blunt concludes, “I don’t think she concerns herself with what she is. There’s nobody else like her—which she quite likes.”

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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.

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

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‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Theatrical Trailer

At long last, we finally have the first trailer for Mary Poppins Returns! It looks like a really great continuation of the story, and the perfect holiday film for all the family and I really appreciate that such effort has gone into recapturing the magic of the original. Emily seems to be the perfect fit for the role, doesn’t she? If you haven’t already, you can view the trailer below. I’ve also uploaded screen captures to the gallery as well. Enjoy!

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New ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Still

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.

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Appearing on Live with Kelly and Ryan

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.