How awful is it that I’ve never seen Mary Poppins? Very awful? I figured. But while we are all here making confessions, an original star from Mary Poppins, Dick Van Dyke, recently revealed that he actually had to pay Disney in order to persuade them to let him play a second role in the film.
Since Disney is about to release Mary Poppins Returns on Dec. 19, Dick and Lin-Manuel Miranda, of Hamilton fame, decided to sit down and have a chat for Mary Poppins Returns: Behind the Magic — A Special Edition of 20/20. And let’s just say that it was during this segment that the 92-year-old actor decided to share quite the tidbit about how he got Disney to allow him to play two roles in the 1964 film. Dick is, of course, most known for playing Bert the chimney sweeper, but in order for Disney to allow him to play the film’s banker, he had to give up some cash.
“I said, ‘I’ll do it for nothing.’ Actually, I had to give him $4,000 dollars. I had to pay him to do the part,” Dick revealed, adding that Disney refused to let him play the part of Mr. Dawes Sr. even after he asked them. Lin-Manuel asked Dick if he actually paid Disney, to which Dick replied, “And I’d do it again.”
Lin-Manuel even mentions that many avid viewers of the classic film forget that Dick played two roles in the film. “I always, when I tell my friends you’re in it. They go, ‘Oh, he’s playing Bert,’ I go, ‘Remember he played two parts in that movie,'” Lin-Manuel explained. And Dick knows all about that, saying, “It’s funny when you’re a kid and you see it, you don’t realize that. You don’t realize it’s you in that other part. But you know when they made me up as the old man in the old one, I had to go to go to Walt and ask him for the part, he didn’t give it to me.”
And don’t you all worry. Dick didn’t have to pay anyone to be in the film’s sequel. At least I’m assuming Dick didn’t have to, but how else is Disney supposed to pay for things?
Mary Poppins Returns takes place years after the original, with Emily Blunt playing the legendary character. Lin-Manuel will also be part of the film, and he once told Closer Weekly how incredible it was working with Dick.
“Dick has more energy than I will ever have in my life, and it’s incredible,” Lin-Manuel said. “It’s humiliating, and it’s awesome!”
And with that said I’ll go ahead and try to find time to watch Mary Poppins. But you won’t get me to watch The Sound of Music. That’s where I draw the line.
You can watch Mary Poppins Returns: Behind the Magic — A Special Edition of 20/20 Thursday, Nov. 22 on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.