We’re in the age of the “late in life” sequel, and this is one that seemed untouchable. Mary Poppins is a legendary picture that cemented the careers of Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke and smashed records all over the place. It’s been 50 years since the debut of the Disney classic, and now it’s time to bring that character to a new generation with Mary Poppins Returns, due out December of 2018. Entertainment Weekly has a first look at the movie and its all-star cast.
“The bar is so high for this,” says Director Rob Marshall. “But to be able to walk in the footsteps of this beautiful story about a woman who brings magic to this family that’s looking for wonder and hope and joy in their lives… I feel a great responsibility and reverence every day. We all feel it. We’re just lifting it up to get there with the right intentions behind it.”
There is respect for the source material that runs all the way through the production. From stars like Blunt getting Julie Andrews blessing, to Tony-winning composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman creating a score remnant of the original, to costume designers Sandy Powell and her team as they brought Mary Poppins into the new 1930’s era — it was important to keep the spirit of the original production. Marshall continued:
“Dick Van Dyke said that the thing he remembers the most about doing the original film was the spirit, and he said, ‘It’s exactly the same spirit here.’ He was right here on Cherry Tree Lane and he said, ‘I feel like I’m home.’”
Van Dyke was on set to film a very secret cameo (though not as Bert) and offer his approval, but Andrews meant a lot to the entire creative team, too. They know how important it is to get this right, and they’re working hard to make sure it is. If nothing else, the images look like they have caught the aesthetic of the original movie perfectly.
Mary Poppins Returns picks up 25 years after the events of the first film, fast-forwarding to London’s mid-1930s economic slump. Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane has become the warm, loving home that banker and artist Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) shares with his wife and three children. But after the sudden death of Michael’s wife, the Banks family is shattered — even enthusiastic aunt Jane (Emily Mortimer), now a fervent union organizer, and long-time housemaid Ellen (Julie Walters) can’t help lift spirits — and so in time, the once-blossoming home is on the verge of foreclosure.
Cue the arrival of prim and peculiar Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt), who leads Michael’s wayward children (and Jane and Michael themselves) on a series of unbelievable adventures — to the top of Big Ben, the bottom of the ocean, into magical encounters with animated dancing penguins and upside-down cousins (hey, Meryl Streep!). If anyone can help this family find the light they’ve lost, it’s Mary Poppins.
Practically perfect in every way.
Mary Poppins Returns flies into our lives on December 25th, 2018.