Mary Poppins is the iconic 1964 film that is loved by children all around the world. But for the movie’s male lead, Dick Van Dyke, all he can do is to look back and cringe. In a recent interview, he admitted he’s been ridiculed for his “atrocious accent” in Mary Poppins for over 50 years.
The 93-year-old told the New York Times he’s taken the jokes “on the chin” about his British Cockney accent in the film. The legendary actor played jack-of-all-trades Bert, alongside Julie Andrews in the titular role.
“I’ve taken it on the chin for 60 [sic] years about my atrocious Cockney accent in the first movie,” Van Dyke laughed.
Van Dyke has returned for the sequel Mary Poppins Returns, where he plays elderly banker Mr. Dawes Jr.
“No one has ever forgotten it. Because of that, they had a language gal almost handcuffed to me. She made me sound pretty good. They won’t laugh at me on this one,” he added.
Mary Poppins Returns has been one of the most anticipated films of the year. This time, actress Emily Blunt takes over the role of the beloved nanny. According to Van Dyke, Blunt’s interpretation took more inspiration from the version of Mary first portrayed in the series of books published by P. L. Travers.
The author famously disliked the original film adaptation and felt it was too “glamorous.” Her gross opposition to the music and animation was played out in the film Saving Mr. Banks.
However, Van Dyke believes the Australian author would have been happier with this newer version of Mary Poppins.
So far, the sequel has been heartily praised by critics and audiences. Blunt’s portrayal of Mary Poppins has been appropriately branded “practically perfect in every way.”
The British actress previously spoke about Van Dyke’s role in the film, admitting she was astonished by his dancing skills.
“Dick is so lithe nobody could believe that it is him actually dancing,” Blunt said on The Graham Norton Show.
“We all sat around him like kids wanting to know all about the original. He is so instantly magical, positive and so full of life, it was very moving having him around. It was very special.”
The original Mary Poppins musical won five Oscars, including best actress for Julie Andrews as the magical nanny. The movie also won for best original song for “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” The sequel, Mary Poppins Returns, cost $150 million to make, compared to just $4 million for the original movie.