Streep in Mary Poppins sequel

Dick van Dyk and Julia Andrews in poster shots for the original Mary Poppins. The sequel is due in cinemas for Christmas, 54 years after the release of the Disney original that won Julie Andrews an Oscar for best actress.

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BY BILLY SUTER

EMILY Blunt and Meryl Streep, who last teamed on the big screen in the 2014 Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods and in 2006’s The Devil Wears Prada, are uniting again – this time in the sequel to the Disney classic, Mary Poppins.

Blunt, who played the baker’s wife, opposite Meryl Streep’s witch, in Into the Woods, is filling the role made famous by Julie Andrews in 1964, and which won Andrews an Oscar for best actress in what marked her first movie role. Streep is reportedly playing Topsy, a cousin of Mary, not seen in the first movie.

The story’s setting is now Depression-era London, where a now-grown Banks children – Jane (Emily Mortimer) and Michael (Ben Whishaw) –  along with Michael’s three children, are visited by the enigmatic Mary Poppins following a personal loss.

Through her unique magical skills, and with the aid of her friend Jack, Mary then helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives.

Mary Poppins Returns, a musical fantasy-comedy, is based on the books by P L Travers and is scheduled for global release on Christmas Day this year.

It is directed by Rob Marshall, who directed Into the Woods and received an Oscar for Chicago, and will also star Lin-Manuel Miranda – the star of the smash Broadway musical, Hamilton – as street-lighter Jack, magical Mary’s pal.

Angela Lansbury, Julie Walters, Colin Firth and Jeremy Davies have also been roped in for the sequel which picks up some 25 years or so after the original story.

Also among the cast is a now-91-year-old Dick van Dyke, who played two roles in the original film – Cockney chimney-sweep Bert and doddery old bank manager Mr Dawes.

In the sequel, Van Dyke is cast as Mr Dawes Jnr. This makes Dick Van Dyke the only star to appear in both the original and the sequel, Wikipedia points out.

 

Wikipedia reports that Julie Andrews  endorsed the casting of Emily Blunt as her successor, calling it a “wonderful” casting decision. Blunt said it was “lovely” to receive Andrews’s stamp of approval, and actually cried tears of joy when she found out about Andrews’s reaction, Wikipedia adds.

The film features a new score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.


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