1964’s Mary Poppins is inarguably one of Disney’s most iconic films. With the Sherman Brothers’ unforgettable songs, whimsical choreography, and a career-defining performance by Julie Andrews, the film has been a staple not only in the studio’s history, but also in both cinematic and musical history.
The film is such a landmark in filmmaking that it is almost unthinkable that Disney would even green light a sequel – let alone over 50 years later. But the talent that has been hired to reintroduce audiences to Mary is like a dream. First, you have director Rob Marshall (Chicago and Into the Woods) who has proven his capabilities as a musical filmmaker. Secondly, the decision to cast Emily Blunt to step (in time) into the shoes of Julie Andrews is practically perfect in every way.
But above all, what has elevated my excitement for this project was the addition of Lin-Manuel Miranda. For those living under a rock, Miranda is the multiple Tony winning creator behind In the Heights and of course, Hamilton. He is simply one of the most exciting artists of the century, and to see him join a film production like this fills me with glee.
Miranda spoke with Variety about the upcoming film, revealing details about when the story takes place as well as his character:
It’s straight up a sequel. Michael and Jane Banks have grown up, and they find themselves in their own spot, and Mary Poppins comes back to take care of Michael’s kids. I play a lamplighter named Jack who sort of grew up apprenticing to Bert. So I know if Mary Poppins shows up, it’s gonna get awesome. I perform that function in the movie, of saying: “Y’all don’t know about Mary Poppins.” When Mary’s around, cool sh– happens.
Bert was portrayed by Dick Van Dyke in the 1960 film. When asked if he met with the actor, Miranda had this to say:
I haven’t met Dick Van Dyke. I’d love to meet him. I cried like everyone else did when he showed up on ‘The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60’ and started stepping in time. Just horizontal tears out of my face.
I gotta admit, the potential absence of Bert makes me a little sad. Bert was one of the most important elements to what made Mary Poppins the all-time classic it is. But regardless of whether or not Bert is present in the film, I am beyond excited to see what sensibilities Miranda brings as Jack – especially alongside Emily Blunt.
Lin-Manuel Miranda has composed music for Disney’s upcoming animated feature, Moana which stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Miranda will also compose new music alongside Alan Menken in Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid. My fingers are crossed that his relationship with Disney continues for years, and perhaps he can help bring a live-action Princess and the Frog movie to the screen. I can already see his former Hamilton co-star Leslie Odom, Jr. portray Dr. Facilier.
Mary Poppins Returns opens in theaters on December 25, 2018.