It’s been over 54 years since the classic musical, filled with whimsical humor and magical adventures touched our hearts.
The original film starring Julie Andrews as the world’s most treasured nanny Mary Poppins, won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1964. This was Andrews feature film debut and from early reviews of the new film, Emily Blunt who plays Poppins will be following closely in that regard in Andrews footsteps.
During a press conference, Blunt shared how she prepared for the title role as Poppins; a character held so dear to fans hearts across the globe. She actually declined to watch the original film so close to shooting the new version because of the legacy of the role created by Andrews. She did not want to try and “accommodate in some bigger way, what I did and let that bleed into what I was going to do,” said Blunt at a recent press conference.
“So I just decided if I am going to do this, I’m just going to go with my gut instincts from the book because she is rather different in all of the books, and that was my decision. If I was going to carve out new space for myself it was going to have to be without watching the details of what Julie did so close to shooting,” continued Blunt.
Based on P.L. Travers countless Poppins stories, “Mary Poppins Returns” takes place many years in the future, with the Banks children now all grown up with children of their own. Set in the 1930’s Great Depression-era in London, Ben Wishaw and Emily Mortimer star as the Banks children. After the tragic loss of Micheal’s wife, the now family of four falls into extreme financial hardships leaving no other option of course, than to have Mary Poppins (Blunt) return to their lives.
With her magic bag in hand and the accompaniment of an old friend played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, most know for his broadway performance as Hamilton, she helps the family see different perspectives and rediscover happiness and wonder. Miranda plays a enthusiastic lamplighter whose genuine bliss in each one of his musical performances, from the opening scene of the film in (Underneath the) Lovely London Sky to the incredible BMX bicycle number, radiate through the screen.
“Coming from the theater where the only thing that changes is the audience and your energy that day, to go okay Thursday we will be shutting down Buckingham Palace and riding with 500 bicyclists and Friday you’ll be dancing with the penguins…those kind of moments are unforgettable,” said Miranda.
At a press conference, director Rob Marshall discussed the process of creating an original musical from scratch and striving to create the film with meticulous care and love in order to protect the original musical’s legacy.
“The guiding message of this film about finding light in the darkness is what honestly drew me to the film and kept guiding me throughout the whole process including till this very moment, when people are actually now seeing the film because it feels so current,” said Marshall.
This message along with others similar to the original film are featured throughout the entire musical soundtrack composed by both Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. In an early scene in the film, Micheal Banks performs a emotion jerking number that acts as a conversation to his recently passed wife which relayed such genuine emotion in it’s lyrics and performance. He actually shared that he channeled a lot of what his brother practices within his day to day family dealings as a source of those various feelings present in the film for his character.
Other musical numbers throughout the just over two-hour musical also attribute underlying messages including not to judge a book by it’s cover and that even in a bad situation there can be a positive outcome in Nowhere to Go but Up. Also, about being able to change your perspective in one of my personal favorite numbers from the film’s playlist that features Meryl Streep in Turning Turtle.
Although, no soundtrack can compete to the 1964 original classics like A Spoonful of Sugar, Supercalifralisticexpialidcious and more, the vibrant colors and eye-catching pictures present throughout the entire film pleasantly compliment the experience with the modern musical score. A film favorite from the original classic, Dick Van Dyke also makes a special cameo in the new film who stated that he felt the same magic he felt on set this time around, as he did over thirty years ago, said Marshall.
“I feel people need this film now and I certainly knew that I wanted to live in that world and be a part of that and sending that message out into the world of looking for hope and light in a dark time,” he continued.
You can view the full trailer for the film below. The film is set to release one week from today, Wednesday, December 19th.