Mary Poppins Returns, the sequel to one of Disney’s most popular films, will star British actress Emily Blunt and Broadway’s own Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame. The Guardian confirmed the rumors for the casting choices.
Mary Poppins Returns will be a sequel to the Oscar-winning 1964 film starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. Emily Blunt, best known for her roles as Queen Victoria in The Young Victoria and Emily Charlton in The Devil Wears Prada, will play Mary Poppins, the magical nanny who is “practically perfect.” Lin-Manuel Miranda, star and creator of the hit Broadway show Hamilton, will play a new character, Jack, a street lamplighter. The sequel will focus on a now grown-up Michael Banks and his three children in 1930s London, and how Mary Poppins and Jack help them recover from a tragedy.
P. L. Travers wrote nine books about Mary Poppins from 1934 to 1988. Only a fraction of that material was used in original Mary Poppins movie, and it was changed immensely from the original books. Travers was dismayed by the liberties Walt Disney took with the stories and her most famous character, as shown in the Disney movie Saving Mr. Banks starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks.
Neither Emily Blunt nor Lin-Manuel Miranda are strangers to Disney movies. Emily voiced Juliet, the heroine of Gnomeo and Juliet, played Miss Piggy’s receptionist in The Muppets, and starred as the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods. Lin-Manuel wrote music for Disney’s upcoming 56th animated feature Moana and for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He also played Shag Kava in SW: The Force Awakens and Reggie in The Odd Life of Timothy Green.
Emily has been the heroine of historical adventure films, science fiction action-thrillers, and romantic comedies, having played roles as diverse as Catherine Howard (Henry VIII’s fourth wife), a Lilliputian princess, and a special forces soldier fighting aliens.
Dr. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship “genius grant” and an honorary doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to Hamilton, nominated for 16 Tony Awards, he also wrote In the Heights.
The Telegraph reported that Rob Marshall will be directing Mary Poppins Returns. Marshall previously directed Emily in Into the Woods. Marshall has been nominated for an Academy Award and has won Emmy Awards, Tony Awards, and the Directors Guild of America Award. He also directed Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
“I am truly humbled and honored to be asked by Disney to bring P.L. Travers’ further adventures to the screen…. The iconic original film means so much to me personally, and I look forward to creating an original movie musical that can bring Mary Poppins, and her message that childlike wonder can be found in even the most challenging of times, to a whole new generation.”
Songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who won a Tony award for Hairspray, will write the songs for the sequel. The movie will have new songs, but it is unknown at this time whether or not they will use some of the songs by Robert and Richard Sherman from the original movie.
David Magee, the scriptwriter for Finding Neverland, The Life of Pi, and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, will be writing the script, mining the other Mary Poppins books for material, but setting it during the Depression.
Most public libraries are starting their summer reading programs, so now is a great time to take your children to the library and look for:
- Mary Poppins, 1934
- Mary Poppins Comes Back, 1935
- Mary Poppins Opens the Door, 1943
- Mary Poppins in the Park, 1952
- Stories from Mary Poppins, 1952
- Mary Poppins From A to Z, 1963
- Mary Poppins in the Kitchen, 1975
- Mary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane, 1982
- Mary Poppins and the House Next Door, 1988.
Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, is scheduled to be released December 25, 2018.
[Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]