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‘She’s so funny but incredibly rude’: Why you need to see Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins

You might spot Julie Walters, Colin Firth and Meryl Streep in the cast too.

Source: Journal Media Studio/YouTube

IT’S BEEN OVER 50 years since Mary Poppins stole our hearts as the world’s most recognisable nanny. This December, she’s just about ready to float back down from the sky again for a magical sequel – Mary Poppins Returns.

This time around, Emily Blunt stars as the nanny who is ‘practically perfect in every way’, while Rob Marshall (Chicago) directs. As Blunt told ABC News, when Marshall approached her to star, it was an almost immediate yes: “I just felt my hair blow back in a combination of panic and joy… and thrill really.”

Instead of modelling herself on Julie Andrews (who could compete?), she studied the books and quickly realised Poppins was, “completely eccentric, and so rude – deliciously rude and vain”.  

eu_mpr-article_hero_r_e26839d3 Source: Disney

Blunt told The Daily Beast how within the pages of PL Travers’ books, she “found her eccentricity just a delight.” Her character in these pages was dramatically different to the one audiences know from Andrews: “She’s weird… And sort of batty. Really funny. Just so funny. And incredibly rude and acerbic.”

In fact, she took this so seriously that she didn’t even rewatch the 1964 original, telling The Business Times: “I kind of knew I might be swayed by what Julie [Andrews] did… No one wants to see me do a cheap impersonation of her.”

The film takes place 25 years later and things are not going well for the Banks siblings (Emily Mortimer and Ben Whishaw) on Cherry Tree Lane. In fact, they’re in dire need of Poppins’ help again as they face serious financial trouble. 

In place of Dick Van Dyke (who actually also returns aged 92 as Mr Dawes Jr), Poppins is helped by street lamplighter Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda – Moana, Hamilton). You can also expect surprise appearances from Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep and Angela Lansbury.

For Miranda, the idea that he would star in Mary Poppins was “audacious”. He explains: “You just never think there’ll be another Mary Poppins film.” 

003-e1519398249251 Source: Disney

Similarly, Blunt told Associated Press considered the role a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: “I’m incredibly proud to be her now for this generation. I’m so fortunate because she’s so iconic and still such a delight to play and to be.”

As the mother of two children with actor Jon Krasinski (who told Ellen DeGeneres he went through an entire box of tissues within 20 minutes of watching the movie), it was even more of an honour. She told Luxury London: “Can you imagine my girls being able to say that their mum is Mary Poppins?”

Blunt explained that the whole film took a year and included eight weeks of rehearsals and two and a half weeks of prerecords before they started shooting the film, which in Blunt’s words is “unheard of”. 

And the cast’s hard work has seemingly paid off – just last week, Variety included the sequel in their Oscar predictions, claiming that the Disney film was “leading the way” in the Academy’s initial shortlist, with not one but nine predicted nominations.

Practically perfect, you said?

Want to see the wonderful new Mary Poppins sequel for yourself? You’re in luck – Mary Poppins Returns hits Irish cinemas today on general release from Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures. Get a taste of what you can expect, or book tickets to see it here.

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