After the original Mary Poppins released in 1964, the musical took over peoples hearts and children's imaginations. Now, 54 years later, the iconic musical is coming back featuring a brand new cast, new story-line, and new numbers to learn.
Starring as the legendary Mary Poppins will be actress Emily Blunt, and right by her side will be Jack, a lamplighter, played by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Prooving his natural talent for live performing, acting in a movie (without a live audience) was different for Miranda. However, he rose to the challenge and succeeded, many stating Mary Poppins Returns could be better than the original.
With opening day around the corner, let's see what award-winning Lin-Manuel Miranda has remarked about this beloved film.
10 Miranda Raps
If you've seen Hamilton, then you would know that Lin-Manuel is very familiar with rapping. However, when fans heard that Miranda also rapped in the Mary Poppins Returns, some were aghast. But what many people forget is that Bert also rapped in the '60s movie. As Miranda told a press conference this month, "Everyone that was like 'wow there's rapping in Mary Poppins Returns' forgets that Bert had a 30-second rap about all the women he dated before Mary Poppins, you've all forgotten it." And he's right "The Jolly Holiday" tune is a major flirt session between Bert and Mary.
9 Dick Van Dyke Was In The Loop
Not only was Dick Van Dyke in the loop while creating Mary Poppins Returns, but the 93-year-old actor also makes an appearance in the live-action film! After filming Dick's scenes for two days, Miranda was taken aback by Dick's overall charisma. "I aspire to having that much energy in my life, someday, much less at 91. It was a joyous two days," he said. What's even more exciting about seeing the original Bert in the new film is that he and Miranda are in the shot together. But don't think these two only talked about Mary Poppins; with a love for both song and dance, these two caught up on Dick Van Dyke's amazing career. "We were in the scene together, and we were just huddled off in the corner, and I was asking questions about Bye Bye Birdie," Miranda joked.
8 The Songs Have Some Pretty Impressive Writers
Those in theatre know that Lin-Manuel Miranda has done a lot more in his career than just Hamilton. He's been in Les Misérables, Bring it On: Musical, and West Side Story (to name a few). And while he typically acts, writes, and composes many of his projects, he's leaving the songwriting to other big names in Mary Poppins Returns. Main songwriters, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, are known for their work on Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory the Musical — so it's safe to say that Lin-Manuel is a fan. "I remember getting rush tickets to previews of Hairspray and actually standing next to Marc Shaiman while he was taking notes and I was just a kid out of college," he says.
7 Childhood Imagination Never Dies
What the original Mary Poppins did for us is give us a playful imagination. The musical numbers, the animation, and the possibility that an entire birdcage could fit in a woman's purse gave kids (and adults) everywhere hope. Following on the imagination station, Miranda explained that was his hope for the film.
"I think Jack apprenticed to him and was just kind of his, I just picture a little mini-Bert running around after him. And he sort of grows up and doesn’t lose that spark. I think what Bert and Jack share is that they don’t lose the imagination that comes with childhood." In a world filled with so much negativity and responsibilities, Miranda wants to make sure that Jack and Bert's characters keep that inspiration for imagination alive.
6 He Wasn't A Confident Dancer
Lin-Manuel Miranda can sing, rap, and act. He's quite literally a triple threat. But what about dancing? Director of Mary Poppins Returns, Rob Marshall, explained he knew Emily Blunt was going to steal the show; “I knew that Emily has style. I knew that she could sing. I knew she was musical, so I was not surprised that she could dance.” But what about Miranda? Dancing in unison is harder than it appears. Especially when it's going to be viewed for a lifetime. As Miranda joked, “[They said] 'Here’s your hat. Here is your cane. You’re gonna be good at these things." Easier said than done, he laughed that he wasn't comfortable with the numbers until after filming.
5 For Once, He's A One-Man Show
As aforementioned, it doesn't seem like Lin-Manuel Miranda sleeps. Typically working as a lyricist, actor, and playwright, he's a one-man show at times (with a bushel of help, I'm sure). Director Rob Marshall mentioned, "It’s been rather lovely for [Lin] to just be an actor in something and not have to write and produce and create everything." Putting all his efforts into acting in this iconic movie is sure to pay off for the entertainer. However, it almost seems like he's been preparing for this role all his life. As he says, “In the Heights represents me sort of trying to make my way into this world I love so much, so to go from that and Hamilton to be offered a role like this, it feels like the fruit of that harvest,” he told Playbill.
4 There's One Song He Dislikes
Mary Poppins is, of course, about a magical nanny who arrives in Londo to help the Banks children rediscover happiness in a depressed-filled era. Although Mary brings her own sense of joy to the Banks household, there's quite a bit of sadness in some of the songs, which scarred Miranda. The song "Feed the Birds" haunted the entertainer when he was growing up. "I never got past 'Tuppence,' because 'Tuppence' was so sad, I would burst into tears and make them turn off the VHS. So I didn’t see the end of the movie until I was like an adult." Thankfully, there's a plethora of new music in Mary Poppins Returns.
3 His Son Helped Him Prepare
Lin-Manuel Miranda married a friend from high school back in 2010, and since then, the couple had two children of their own. With his oldest son being 4 years old now, he was just 2 years old when the film started filming, so it's safe to say he was a big inspiration while filming. He told Playbill, “My biggest piece of research was my 2-year-old son,” Miranda noted. “What we know about Jack is he’s the only adult who remembers the childhood adventures of Mary Poppins. He’s the same age as the Banks kids—he’s shining shoes outside while they’re up at Cherry Tree Lane. My biggest research assistant was my own son, who is coming into his own imagination as he grows up, and tapping into that.”
2 Jack Was Bert's Apprentice
Although actress Emily Blunt plays her own version of Mary Poppins—a few years in the future from the original movie—Lin-Manuel Miranda is not playing Bert; he's playing Jack. Jack is a street lamplighter who worked under Bert as his apprentice. Miranda is his own character who doesn't necessarily have to live up to Dick Van Dyke's iconic role. And just as Mary and Bert were close, as are Mary and Jack. As he said, “The magical is commonplace, at least to a couple of people like Mary and Jack, similar to the way it was to Mary and Bert. It’s almost like, ‘Well, yeah, we’ll just jump into the painting and spend the day in the painting, because why wouldn’t we do that?’ They’ll say, ‘Come on, we have a very busy day,’ and that busy day involves dancing with penguins and flying. That’s the thrill of it.”
1 Cherry Tree Lane Is Identical
In the original Mary Poppins, the story takes place in 1910 at the Banks family home on Cherry Tree Lane. In Mary Poppings Returns though, the film is set in the 1930s on the same street. Michael Banks is now a man with children of his own, and Mary has come to help him in a tough time. Cherry Tree Lane was such an iconic part of the movie, fans were thrilled to see it back in the new film, and so was Lin-Manuel. “The first moment was seeing Cherry Tree Lane for the first time, because they brick-for-brick rebuilt it and it really looks like the original, you can’t help but feel transported.”