Disney’s live action department is going through a well-documented reboot euphoria, but it gets half-marks for greenlighting a continuation rather than straight-out rebooting Mary Poppins. The timeless classic is of course based on a novel, and some astute intern at Disney has noticed that book is part of a larger series not yet mined for the cinematic screen. There was assuredly a debate whether to CGI Julie Andrews similarly to Peter Cushing but ultimately they spared the soul of several hundred animators and have decided to recast.
Sacrilege, right?! Well, perhaps not.
Bone fide legend Emily Blunt is the 21st century Mary Poppins, returning 20 years later after one of the children from the original suffer a “personal loss”. Her co-conspirator? Chimney sweeper Jack – who is a spiritual successor to Dick Van Dyke’s amazing Bert – will be brought to life by Hamilton‘s irrepressible Grammy, Tony and Emmy-winning Lin Manuel-Miranda.
Twenty years have passed in-story and as such Michael Banks, one of the children in Mary Poppins, is now an adult portrayed by Ben Wishaw (Skyfall, Spectre, Cloud Atlas). His children’s nanny will be played by Julie Walters, aka Molly Weasley from the Harry Potter series. British icon Colin Firth (Bridget Jones, Love Actually, Kingsman: The Secret Service) will play a banker.
Original cast member Dick Van Dyke signed on after learning of Lin Manuel-Miranda’s involvement and has been actively praising everything about the production. That’s a strong sign.
Arts icon Angela Lansbury has also signed on the dotted line. She’s been described by the New York Times as one of the “First Lady of Stage” and has been nominated for about every award on the planet. Twelve epic seasons of Murder She Wrote also punctuate her impressive resume.
And if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, modern genius Meryl Streep will play Mary Poppins’ nutty cousin Topsy.
Wow. If this movie fails it won’t be due to the cast.
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