Disney has tapped into the well of its classic films in recent years to great success. The Mouse House has put a new spin on tales like Sleeping Beauty with Maleficent and taken the animated Cinderella and reenvisioned it in live-action in order to appeal to new, young audiences. With a whole slate of live-action films based on animated classics in various stages of production and development, the studio also looked to other older movies to put a new spin on. In the case of Mary Poppins, the new spin comes in the form of the sequel titled Mary Poppins Returns that is on track for a 2018 release date.
Currently, Mary Poppins Returns has only cast its titular character, to be played by Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow), and a new character that will be portrayed by Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda. Now, another big name may be joining the cast – and she’s worked with both Blunt and Mary Poppins Returns director Rob Marshall in the past.
Variety is reporting Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep is in talks for a supporting role in Mary Poppins Returns, though she hasn’t closed a deal yet. If Streep joins the cast, she’ll be playing another new character named Topsy, a cousin of Blunt’s Poppins, and she’ll be singing in the role. Streep previously worked with both Blunt and Marshall on Disney’s film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods.
The script for Mary Poppins Returns was penned by David Magee (Finding Neverland) based on the original Mary Poppins novels by P.L. Travers. The story of Mary Poppins Returns takes place in Depression-era London and will see the titular magical nanny visit her former charges, Jane and Michael Banks, now grown and Michael with three children of his own. Similar to the original, Poppins will bring joy into the lives of the Banks family along with the help of her friend, a lamplighter named Jack (Miranda).
It’s unclear how Streep’s character will fit into the plot of Mary Poppins Returns since the role didn’t exist in the 1964 Mary Poppins film – and little was revealed in the movie about the enigmatic nanny, especially her life outside the Banks’ household let alone her family. But, it’s likely Topsy will play a part in helping Poppins’ ultimate goal of bringing joy to the lives of her charges – whether as a help like Jack or as someone to be made an example of, remains to be seen.
Although it was evident prior to the report of Streep potentially joining the film that Mary Poppins Returns would certainly be different than the original 1964 film, each new addition since Blunt’s casting seems to help differentiate the sequel from its predecessor. That said, with the massive popularity surrounding Miranda thanks to Hamilton fever and Streep’s status as a perennial fan-favorite actress, Mary Poppins Returns certainly seems to be filling out its cast with the best talent possible. How it all comes together, though, remains to be seen when Mary Poppins Returns hits theaters in 2018.
Mary Poppins Returns will be released in U.S. theaters on December 25, 2018.