Julie Andrews landed a star-making turn when she was cast in the titular role of a magical nanny in Disney's 1964 musical Mary Poppins alongside Dick Van Dyke. The now-classic film was an immediate success, and went on to earn five Academy Awards, including one for Andrews as Best Actress. The film continues to be a cultural touchstone even today, with the popular songs written by Robert and Richard Sherman often referenced, or appearing as part of a biopic about the character's creator.
With Poppins' enduring legacy, it was no surprise that last year came word the studio announced it was developing a sequel over 50 years after the release of the original film, with Into the Woods' Rob Marshall signing on as director and John DeLuca and Marc Platt as producers. The announcement immediately sparked speculation as to who would fill the iconic role.
Variety is now reporting that Emily Blunt is the leading contender to succeed Andrews as Mary Poppins. The actress recently met with Disney to discuss playing the title role, and has reportedly been a favorite since working with Marshall, Platt, and DeLuca in the Oscar-nominated musical Into the Woods.
The first movie was loosely based on P.L. Travers’ children's book series of the same name, and revolved around a nanny who goes to work for a banker's (Van Dyke) dysfunctional family in pre-World War I England. The sequel, which is slated to begin production soon, will be set 20 years after the events of the last film in Depression-era London, taking story lines from the remaining seven books, as they continue to explore Poppins’ adventures with the Banks family.
Blunt has proven to have a warm and charismatic onscreen presence that would be well-suited for the role. While the actress doesn't have Andrews’ Broadway past, she did demonstrate her singing voice playing the Baker's Wife in the aforementioned Into the Woods, and has shown her range while balancing comedic roles in such films as The Devil Wears Prada with more serious fare as Sicario and the action movie Edge of Tomorrow. However, the deal is far from set as Blunt's recent revelation that she's expecting her second child with husband John Krasinski (13 Hours), may limit her availability. Blunt can next be seen in The Huntsman: Winter's War -- a follow-up to Snow White and the Huntsman -- and as the lead in the thriller The Girl on the Train, which Platt also produced.
The Mary Poppins sequel is part of an effort by Disney to build upon the legacy of some of their classic live-action films after finding great success turning some of their beloved animated pics, such as Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and the upcoming The Jungle Book into live-action versions. New incarnations of Winnie the Pooh, Dumbo, Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, and Fantasia are also in the works.
Screen Rant will bring you more information on the Mary Poppins sequel as it is made available.