Mary Poppins is one of those characters that just puts a smile on your face. She reminds you of what magic is and how it warms your entire body from the inside out. Which is exactly the feeling you get while watching now Golden Globe nominated Emily Blunt and Lin Manuel-Miranda. How do Blunt, Miranda and the rest of the creative team feel about revisiting this classic tale? Leave it to Disney to have a press conference full of magic answering some of our most pressing questions.
Q: Why Mary Poppins Returns
ROB MARSHALL (Director): …I wanted to be able to in an odd way protect the first film and treat this film with great care and love. …the guiding message of this film about finding light in the darkness is honestly what drew me to it and kept guiding me throughout the whole process including until this very moment…we set our film in the depression era in London, the time of the books.
Of course, you can’t have a press conference about Mary Poppins without asking Emily Blunt about Julie Andrews and Blunt’s take on Emily Blunt iconic imprint Mary Poppins has seared in our hearts and brains for decades.
EMILY BLUNT (Mary Poppins):
It was such an extraordinary rather unparalleled moment for me because I was filled with an instantaneous trepidation. …She is so iconic, had such a big imprint on my life and on everyone’s lives, you know. People hold this character so close to their hearts. And so, how do I create my version of her? What will my version of her be…? No one wants to see me do a sort of cheap impersonation of Julie Andrews because no one is Julie Andrews. She should be preserved and treasured in her own way of what she did. So, I knew this was going to be something that I wanted to take a big swing with and I knew I could do it with this man (pointing to Rob Marshall) who is the most emboldening, meticulous, brilliant director in the world and I was in safe hands with him.
“…I found the books to be a huge springboard and enormously helpful. She leaped off the page at me just in how complicated she is, how unknowable she is in this wonderful way. She is stern, incredibly rude, you know, and vain and yet there is this humanity to have such a childlike wonder in her in order to want to infuse these children’s lives with it. There must be a generosity of spirit to want to fix and heal in the way that she does.”
She’s probably a bit of an adrenaline junkie…she loves these adventures. It’s like her outlet, you know. So, she’s not just one thing. She is so enigmatic and it was a great, delicious character to play, loved it.
What was Lin Manuel-Miranda’s favorite day playing Jack…
LIN MANUEL MIRANDA (Jack) :
There are a lot of highs on a movie like this and coming from the theater where the only thing that changes in the performance is the audience and your energy that day to go okay Thursday we’ll be shutting down Buckingham Palace and riding with 500 bicyclists. Then Friday you’ll be dancing with the penguins. You know those kind of moments are really sort of unforgettable. But for me, I brought my son to set every time we filmed a musical number and to watch his eyes like saucers while daddy danced with, what seems like 500 dancers and bikers, I’ll never forget the look on his face as long as I live.
As for that rap break of Jack’s, Miranda gleefully explained, …First of all, I would urge you to re-watch the first film. Everyone was like wow there’s rapping in Mary Poppins Returns and they all forget that Burt has a 30 second rap about all the women he dated before Mary Poppins. Jolly Holiday is one big flirt between Mary and Burt. So I don’t know, do you want to handle the white hot sensuality of Mary Poppins?
Of course we all needed to know what it was like having Dick Van Dyke and what he said and when came on to the set.
He grabbed my hand as we walked on to the set, turned to me and he said something I will never forget. He said I feel the same spirit here on this set that I did on the first film. That was the dream come true right there.
I was so moved. My favorite moment on the set was when after Dick did his monologue to the kids in the bank. We were all waiting for Rob to call cut because he was with him reading a long time and then he couldn’t because of all the emotion. He was crying and he couldn’t literally say the word…that was so touching.
And I couldn’t agree more. As a grown woman, I was immediately transported back in time to when my Mom first introduced me to Mary Poppins. Now, I am beyond thrilled to watch a whole new generation experience that same magic. Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns will be in theaters on December 19th.