When word got out that Emily Blunt had been cast as the title character in Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, the overwhelming response from most people was, “Well, sure.” Blunt has proven herself to be genre agnostic over the years, as likely to wow audiences in a science-fiction or action film as she is in a light-hearted comedy. That alone would make her an ideal candidate for Mary Poppins — as the rare actress capable of convincing audiences that she’d do justice to an iconic character — but she also bears a physical resemblance to Julie Andrews to boot. You couldn’t ask for better casting.
Dick Van Dyke remains a beloved and esteemed entertainer at age 91, fondly remembered for his charismatic performances as a hapless songwriter in Bye Bye Birdie and a sooty-faced chimneysweep in Disney’s 1964 musical Mary Poppins. What he’s remembered decidedly less fondly for is the other role he played in the period-piece musical, elderly bank chairman Mr. Dawes, Senior. Clad in old-age makeup and credited as “Nackvid Keyd” (an anagram of Dick Van Dyke), the notorious D.V.D. busted out a frightfully bad Cockney accent in his scenes as the tight-fisted money man. Widely mocked at the time and voted the second-worst accent ever in a poll from Empire, it was not the high point of Van Dyke’s impressive career.
Colin Firth, America’s favorite dashing Brit (sorry, Hugh Grant), is currently in negotiations to join Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda in Mary Poppins Returns, the sequel to Disney’s original Mary Poppins movie.
The newest news out of Hollywood’s un-asked-for sequel factory comes from the Mary Poppins follow-up Mary Poppins Returns. Joining Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, and Lin-Manuel Miranda is Emily Mortimer (Shutter Island, The Newsroom), who has landed a role as adult Jane Banks.
In what is shaping up to be the most pleasant of Disney’s new live-action offerings, the consistently pleasant Ben Whishaw is in talks to join the similarly quite pleasing Emily Blunt and the equally personable Lin-Manuel Miranda in the indubitably enjoyable Mary Poppins sequel. It may be fairly unsurprising news, but that doesn’t make it any less wonderful.