Following her role in husband John Krasinski’s acclaimed horror A Quiet Place, Emily Blunt will next be seen taking on the iconic role of Mary Poppins in Disney’s upcoming sequel Mary Poppins Returns.
Speaking to Variety, the actress has been chatting about stepping into the shoes of Julie Andrews and what drew her to the film, which reunites her with her Into the Woods director Rob Marshall.
“Rob Marshall called me a couple of years ago and pitched it to me,” said Blunt. “The script hadn’t been written and they hadn’t written the songs, they were just crafting a narrative. He explained that this was much more in the same world as the books. It’s set in the ’30s during the Great Depression, which is when P.L. Travers wrote them. It was the idea of having a darker backdrop in which hope could reappear from the skies. I loved the idea and I love and believe in him.”
“What he did for me was huge,” she continued. “Having somebody like Julie Andrews, who is iconic, play somebody like Mary Poppins, who is also iconic, it could have felt like I was rolling aside this huge boulder. But Rob made it feel so intimate for me and empowering for me, so I could have my own version of her. I didn’t watch the original during the process. I had a memory of the movie seared into my brain from when I was a child, but I didn’t want the distraction of the amazing Julie’s version of her. I just read the books. This is my interpretation of Mary.”
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.