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.
It’s finally arrived! At long last, we have some official footage from Mary Poppins Returns–in the form of a teaser that premiered during last night’s Academy Awards (photos from Emily’s appearance will be coming soon). Although it’s very short, I feel it gives us just enough to build anticipation for the release.
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.”
USA TODAY – Emily Blunt acknowledges that it’s hard to put in words what it’s like to play author P.L. Travers’ iconic nanny, though “joyful” and “utterly magical” do come up in conversation. Julie Andrews played the role in 1964 and the flying umbrella passes to Blunt for a sequel set in 1930s Depression-era London, where Poppins revisits a now-grown Michael (Ben Whishaw) and Jane Banks (Emily Mortimer) when their family needs her again. Back in the day, a spoonful of sugar helped the medicine go down, but Blunt’s Poppins hews more to Travers’ literary character. “I just loved how eccentric and wacky she is in the books — incredibly vain and rude to the children,” Blunt says. “As a British person, I really responded to that lack of saccharine relationships. I find it comforting the idea of someone just sweeping in who’s no-nonsense and cleaning everything up and making everything right again in a magical way that’s not sentimental.”
Courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, I’ve updated the gallery with some great new photos from Mary Poppins Returns–including stills and images from rehearsals.
Fantastic news! We have yet another new look at Emily and the production of Mary Poppins Returns in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, which hits newsstands this Friday.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY – It’s no secret that all nannies are compared to one single, supernaturally-inclined doyenne of discipline who flew in on the eastern wind in 1964. The iconic character has stayed in the hearts of moviegoers in the decades since she first burst onto the screen — and now, she’s back.
Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns (in theaters Christmas 2018) might be one of the highest-profile sequels ever attempted, more than half a century after Walt Disney’s cinematic classic immortalized the careers of Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, smashed records, got a word in the dictionary (guess which one) and become one of the most cherished films of all time. Set in 1910, the original film, loosely based on the first two volumes of P.L. Travers’ eight-book series, told the story of how Mary Poppins united an absent father and his two playful children through her singular, enigmatic magic. But there were six more Travers books, bursting with more characters and stories, waiting to be adapted on screen one day.
Mary Poppins Returns, directed by Rob Marshall (Into the Woods), picks up 25 years after the events of the first film, fast-forwarding to London’s mid-1930s economic slump, the actual time period of Travers’ books. Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane has become the warm, loving home that banker and artist Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) shares with his wife and three children. But after the sudden death of Michael’s wife, the Banks family is shattered — even enthusiastic aunt Jane (Emily Mortimer), now a fervent union organizer, and long-time housemaid Ellen (Julie Walters) can’t help lift spirits — and so in time, the once-blossoming home is on the verge of foreclosure.