In Hollywood’s endless supply of sequels, prequels, remakes, and reboots, there is one that audiences are genuinely excited about: Mary Poppins Returns, with Emily Blunt assuming the title role from Julie Andrews, who originated the part in 1964’s Mary Poppins.
Walt Disney Pictures, which is releasing the film this December but has just issued a “special look,” officially describes the sequel as follows: “Set in 1930s London, which is the time period of the original novels by P.L. Travers. The story follows Ben (Ben Whishaw) and Jane Banks (Emily Mortimer), who are now grown up. Michael is living with his three children (Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, and Joel Dawson) and housekeeper Ellen (Julie Walters), in the house on Cherry Tree Lane. After Michael has a personal loss, Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) comes back into the lives of the Banks family. She is joined by a street lamplighter named Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), and an eccentric cousin named Topsy (Meryl Streep).” Watch the newly-released Mary Poppins Returns special look video below!
“I think Mary Poppins as a character is so iconic, and I think the film, for me, and I think for most people, is one of those films that is sort of seared into people’s memory, an emblem of their nostalgia in many ways,” Emily mused to Screenrant. “So I do remember it very fondly and took great comfort in it as a child — that was something that struck me, that person coming in and [being] so capable and so magical, and just sweeping it all up and making it right. I took a lot of comfort in that as a child, so I think we are trying to, obviously, continue that now too with our film. It’s very surreal to me being Mary Poppins.”
As to the most challenging aspect of Mary Poppins Returns, she adds, “The dancing, probably. I feel that I just try to approach her as I would any other character and not be caught up in the white noise of, ‘Oh my God, you are Mary Poppins.’ I think that has been my main focus, is just to approach her calmly, as I would any other character, how I would play her, with what I have given on the page. I have not watched the originals since I saw it as a child, cause I… no one is going to outdo Julie Andrews. I think I just want to… this is just going to be my version her. The dancing has been the most daunting prospect for me.”
Elaborating a bit with London’s Daily Mail, Emily admits, “I was filled with a mixture of two emotions — I was obviously very excited, but I was also frozen with fear, because, well, Mary herself is so iconic and Julie Andrews is so iconic, too. All I could do was try… find my own version of Mary. And what a gift of a character she is.”
The timing for this film, she related to Harpers Bazaar, couldn’t be more important: “It’s incredibly hopeful,” she says. “The world is fragile right now, and people need a film like this.”
Mary Poppins Returns arrives in theaters via umbrella on Dec. 19, 2018.