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.
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.”
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 excerpt from 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.”
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.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt’s Jungle Cruise is sailing into a later release date. The Disney film will now open in the heart of summer movie season on July 24, 2020.
The film previously had been scheduled for Oct. 10, 2019. Jungle Cruise is the only project with a title set for that date, though Warner Bros. has an untitled DC film and Sony has an untitled animated franchise movie currently slotted in that spot.
The Shallows filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra is helming Jungle Cruise, which is set in the early 20th century and takes place in the Amazon jungle. Johnson stars as a boat captain who takes a sister (Blunt) and brother (Jack Whitehall) on a journey to find a tree believed to have healing powers. Along the way, they must deal with wild animals and a competing German expedition. Paul Giamatti is also starring.
Beau Flynn, John Davis and John Fox are producing, as are Johnson, Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia. Scott Sheldon is co-producing.
“Ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages. My partner in crime, Emily Blunt and I, lovingly invite you to join us for THE ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME. All aboard,” Johnson tweeted Friday. Jungle Cruise wrapped filming in September.
Disney also undated an untitled Marvel movie, unsetting it from July 31, 2020. Little is known about Marvel Studios’ plans beyond next summer’s Avengers 4 and Spider-Man: Far From Home. Before he was fired as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, James Gunn had said that film would open in 2020, and there had been speculation the film would open in that date or a May 1, 2020 slot, however, Marvel Studios never officially dated the film.