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Here's What the Cast and Crew of 'Mary Poppins Returns' Say About Revisiting a Classic

13 Dec, 2018    added by : Landon H. Johnson
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She’s back and she’s better and sassier than ever. The “practically perfect in every way” nanny Mary Poppins flies to the big screen in the Disney sequel Mary Poppins Returns. It stars the dazzling Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins and Broadway sensation Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack.

Based on the stories by P.L Travers, this new version of Mary Poppins is set during the “Great Slump” depression-era in London, circa the 1930s. The enigmatic nanny returns to help restore happiness to the next generation of Banks children after the loss of their mother. Mary, along with street lamplighter Jack, helps Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw), his sister, Jane (Emily Mortimer), and the Banks children rediscover the joy and wonders in life and find the light in their darkness.

Director Rob Marshall joins forces with producers Marc Platt and John DeLuca to deliver the next spoonful of sugar to today’s generation with all-new original songs while preserving and paying tribute to the 1964 original.

At a recent press day, ScreenPicks got to hear from the brilliant cast and filmmakers behind Mary Poppins Returns and here’s a dose of what we learned:

Rob Marshall on why make a sequel to Mary Poppins:

Marshall said, “You know what? I thought to myself, when this came my way, if anybody is gonna do it, I would like to do it because it was it was incredibly daunting at first of course. But at the same time, I really felt like I have this film in my blood. And I wanted to, in an odd way, protect the first film and treat this film with great care and love.”

The Academy-Award winning director continued to pull back the curtain behind the complexity of making a musical. “And you know, musicals are very difficult to do, an original musical, there are so many layers to it, but with this one, you know, creating an original musical from scratch was for me, a dream.”

He added, “To be able to create it in with this beautiful company was exactly what I was hoping for and I have to say, the guiding message of this film about finding light in the darkness is honestly what drew me to it.”

Emily Blunt on being offered the role of Mary Poppins:

Blunt described the moment Rob Marshall asked her to play one of Disney’s most coveted characters as nothing short of “extraordinary.”

“It was an extraordinary and rather unparalleled moment for me because I was filled with an instantaneous yes but also with some trepidation. You know all happening simultaneously in that moment because she is so iconic,” she said.

Blunt went on to explain her process on how she created her version of the beloved character. “What will my version of her be because there’s no point? No one wants to see me do a sort of cheap impersonation of Julie Andrews because no one is Julie Andrews. So she should be preserved and treasured in her own way for what she did.”

Then, Marshall chimed in, “There is not another person on the planet who could have played that part but you, Emily, no one.”

Blunt talked about what her inspiration for the character came from. “I found the books to be a huge springboard and enormously helpful, you know. She leapt off the page at me just in how complicated and unknowable she is in this wonderful way, that duality of the character. You know, she is stern and she is incredibly rude, you know and vain, but like funny.”

The actress said Mary Poppins has “such a childlike wonder in her in order to want to infuse these children’s lives with it and there must be a generosity of spirit to want to fix and heal things the way she does. Such a delicious character to play, loved it.”

On Lin-Manuel Miranda transitioning from playing Hamilton on Broadway to Jack on the big screen:

“I got a call from Rob Marshall and John DeLuca that said, ‘We’d like to talk to you about something,” Miranda explained. “They came to buy me a drink between shows. I was still in Hamilton at the time and I had a two-show day. I finished the matinee, rolled across the street to the Paramount Hotel and they said sequel to Mary Poppins. And I asked ‘Who’s playing Mary Poppins?’ They said, ‘Emily Blunt’ and I said, ‘Oh that’s good!”

Miranda then compared his hit character Alexander Hamilton with Jack in Mary Poppins Returns. “When I am playing Hamilton, there is no childlike wonder in Alexander Hamilton whereas Jack is in touch with that imagination you see in your kids when they can sort of play in their own imagination for hours.”

The Broadway star explained that the opportunity came at the just the right time for him and his family, too. “We had just finished a year of performing Hamilton and then I chopped my hair off and left the country and jumped into Mary Poppins’ universe. It was beautiful.”

Miranda also talked about some of the challenges and his favorite parts of the film. “There are so many… okay on Thursday we’ll be shutting down Buckingham Palace and riding with 500 bicyclists. And Friday you’ll be dancing with the penguins. You know those moments are really sort of unforgettable.”

Miranda said he brought his son to set during these elaborate sequences. “I brought my son to set every time we filmed a musical number and to watch his eyes like saucers while daddy dance with, you know, what seems like 500 dancers and bikers. I’ll never forget the look on his face as I long as I live.”

If you could use some childlike wonder, Mary Poppins Returns blows into theaters on December 19, so go see it!

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