The Magic Behind Mary Poppins Returns
This Christmas a familiar figure is making a welcome return, and she's bringing joy and wonder with her.
Mary Poppins Returns stars Emily Blunt as the practically perfect nanny who revisits the Banks family when they need her most. With an all-star cast, nine original songs and a magical whistle-stop tour of London’s most iconic locations, Mary Poppins Returns is a fun, fresh sequel to the iconic original.
Set 24 years after Mary Poppins, Michael Banks now has a family of his own and is working at the same bank his father and grandfather once did. A family tragedy coupled with money worries leaves Michael struggling to care for his three children, but just as the family fear things will get worse, Mary Poppins re-enters their lives.
First published in 1934, author PL Travers wrote eight books over fifty years, and the story of Mary Poppins Returns is drawn from several of these magical adventures. Director/Producer Rob Marshall explains: “It was obvious there were many more stories to be told, and once we read all the books we realized we could find a different way in. Most importantly, by emphasizing Travers’ recurring theme that as we become adults, we become disillusioned and cynical and forget how to look at life through a child’s eyes.”
Finding an actor to follow in the footsteps of Dame Julie Andrews’ Oscar-winning performance was never going to be easy, but Emily Blunt knew she could bring something fresh to one of cinema’s most beloved characters.
“Rob Marshall pitched the character to me in a really exciting way, with Mary Poppins having this enigmatic master plan and being vain and stylish but funny as well. I envisioned her having a slightly sharper edge but also remembered the comforting feeling I got from her as a child,” she explained.
Rounding out the cast is Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks, Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury and Julie Walters.
Mary Poppins Returns was filmed in London’s Shepperton Studios as well as on location in and around the city, something which required set dressing so it appeared authentically 1930s.
“We wanted to open up the film and shoot on these locations in London to give the audience a true feel for the city,” says producer John DeLuca. “We even began to think of these locations as their own characters."
Landmarks including St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, the Royal Exchange, and Westminster all feature, and Emily Blunt loved how the film made London look.
“I think of the film as a love letter to London. I’m from London and I love that it captures the city so beautifully.”