It turns out Emily Blunt did not rewatch Mary Poppins to prepare for her role in Disney's sequel, Mary Poppins Returns. Julie Andrews famously won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of the magical nanny Mary Poppins in the original 1964 film - and while the titular character had already been around for thirty years by that point (as P.L. Travers' first Mary Poppins novel was published in 1934), Andrews has become all but synonymous with the practically perfect caretaker in pop culture history since then.
In fact, because she's so strongly associated with the character, Andrews decided to pass on making a cameo in Mary Poppins Returns, out of concern that it would further encourage filmgoers to compare her performance as Mary Poppins to Blunt's (more than they already are, of course). During our interview with her on the Mary Poppins Returns set, Blunt similarly emphasized that she didn't try to imitate Andrews' mannerisms while playing the role.
Blunt, as it were, hasn't even watched the original Mary Poppins in several years. Here's what she told us on the sequel's set in London:
"I have not watched the original since I saw it as a child, cause I... No one is going to outdo Julie Andrews. I think I just want to... this is just going to be my version [of Mary Poppins]."
While Mary Poppins Returns costume designer Sandy Powell (who previously worked on Disney's live-action Cinderalla remake) has clearly been inspired by Andrews' outfits from the original film, she's crafted noticeably different attire for Blunt to wear, as a way of further distinguishing her take on Mary Poppins as its own thing. Mary Poppins Returns in general is described by its creatives as being as much an homage to its predecessor as a direct sequel and that mindset has informed everything from the film's production design to its cast's performances, by the sound of it.
Blunt's costar Lin-Manuel Miranda has a somewhat easier task in that regard, seeing as he's playing a whole new character here (namely, Jack the lamp-lighter) and not trying to fill the shoes of Andrews' Mary Poppins costar Dick Van Dyke as Bert, the chimney sweep. Even so, Blunt has a track record of shining in whatever venture she decides to try her hand at, be it a Disney musical (see also: Into the Woods) or something as silly as The Huntsman: Winter's War. That is to say: she's as qualified as anyone to follow in Andrews' footsteps.
- Mary Poppins Returns (2018) release date: Dec 19, 2018