Although it was reported back in August of last year that Julie Andrews was in talks to join Disney’s Mary Poppins sequel, the Oscar-winning actress opted against a cameo in 2018’s Mary Poppins Returns, with director Rob Marshall revealing to EW that Andrews was concerned that by making an appearance she could take the spotlight away from her successor Emily Blunt.
“[Julie] had known it was in the works, then we said, ‘We’re doing it,’ and she said, ‘Oh, thank God,’” said Marshall. “Then we said, ‘And we’re thinking of Emily Blunt,’ and she just threw her hands up in the air and said yes. I think a lot of people feel that way about Emily’s work. Julie will always be, for me and for everybody, the most astonishing performance as Mary Poppins, winning the Oscar and bursting onto the scene so brilliantly. But Emily is the perfect person to carry the torch, and I know Julie feels the exact same way. She loves her.”
“Julie was incredibly gracious, and we talked about it in a very general way but she made it clear right up front,” Marshall continued. “She said, ‘This is Emily’s show, and I really want it to be Emily’s show. I don’t want it to be, “Oh, here comes that Mary Poppins.” I don’t want that. I really want her to take this and run with it, because she will be brilliant.’”
Mary Poppins Returns is set in 1930s depression-era London (the time period of the original novels) and is drawn from the wealth of material in PL Travers’ additional seven books. In the story, Michael (Ben Whishaw) and Jane (Emily Mortimer) are now grown up, with Michael, his three children and their housekeeper, Ellen (Julie Walters), living on Cherry Tree Lane. After Michael suffers a personal loss, the enigmatic nanny Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) re-enters the lives of the Banks family, and, along with the optimistic street lamplighter Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), uses her unique magical skills to help the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives. Mary Poppins also introduces the children to a new assortment of colorful and whimsical characters, including her eccentric cousin, Topsy (Meryl Streep).
Mary Poppins Returns is being directed by Rob Marshall (Into the Woods) and sees Emily Blunt (The Girl on the Train) leading the cast alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda (Moana), Ben Whishaw (Spectre), Emily Mortimer (Hugo), Julie Walters (Harry Potter), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins), Pixie Davies (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), Nathanael Saleh (Game of Thrones), Angela Lansbury (Murder, She Wrote), and newcomer Joel Dawson, with Dick Van Dyke set to make a cameo appearance. It will open on December 21st 2018 in the UK and December 25th 2018 in North America.