Emily Blunt tried to make her version of the titular nanny in Mary Poppins Returns as different as she could from Julie Andrews’, in some very specific ways. There are few non-Marvel and non-Lucasfilm titles set to be released over the next few years that are facing the same kind of lofty expectations that Mary Poppins Returns is. After all, it’s hard to think of many live-action Disney Studios films quite as beloved and well-remembered as the original 1964 film. It’s a classic musical that not only received a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars that year, but also garnered major critical acclaim and a Best Actress award for Julie Andrews, who blew audiences away at the time with her take on the magical, odd nanny.
Now, over fifty years later, and Disney is planning on bringing that beloved character and world back to the big screen again with Mary Poppins Returns, which features Emily Blunt as the iconic nanny this time around, taking over for Andrews in the role. And according to Blunt, she knew from the very beginning that the only way to make her version of Mary Poppins work was to separate from Andrews’ take.
The actress spoke about her preparation for the role while appearing at the D23 Expo, saying that she tried to approach it like any other role, but after watching 15 minutes of the original Mary Poppins, stopped to carve out a version for herself – one that is a little odder than Andrews’ and closer to the books. And in order to give fans a small taste of the film, Disney also showed some brief snippets of footage from the film during the presentation, which included a glimpse of Poppins coming in from the sky in the clouds, and shots of her with the kids dancing and playing. For fans of the original film’s use of animation mixed with live-action, the footage also included a scene of Blunt’s Poppins singing with a group of animated birds. In addition, you check out a brand new motion-poster for Mary Poppins Returns, below:
Despite what many fans might have initially thought about Mary Poppins Returns, the film is less of a long gap reboot of the franchise, and more of a direct sequel to the original. Picking up twenty-five years after the events of the first film, Returns follows the eponymous nanny when she returns to London during the Great Depression, to help the now grown up Banks children, Jane (Emily Mortimer) and Michael (Ben Whishaw), who are reeling from financial struggle and the recent loss of a loved one. However, through the help of Mary Poppins, the Banks family may finally learn to find joy in their hard world once again.
To the film’s credit also, while there’s still quite a bit of skepticism surrounding Mary Poppins Returns, Disney and director Rob Marshall have managed to pack the project to the brim with excited and talented creative players, both in front of and behind the camera. In addition to Blunt as Poppins, the film also stars Lin-Manuel Miranda, Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth, Julie Walters, a returning Dick Van Dyke, and more. And in case that’s not enough to boost excitement for the project amongst even the most outspoken of naysayers, Disney still has a little over a year to convince all die-hard Mary Poppins fans of why this film is going to be worth dedicating their time to.
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