Julie Andrews has no interest in upstaging the new Mary Poppins.
It seems that whenever a remake or reboot of a film or television show are announced that fans want, or sometimes even demand, that the stars of the original are brought back to appear in them. So when Disney announced that it was making a sequel to Disney's 1964 classic Mary Poppins, there was hope that Andrews -- who won an Oscar for portraying the magical nanny -- would at least make a cameo.
However, those hopes have been dashed. Rob Marshall, the director of Mary Poppins Returns, reached out to Andrews to make an appearance but she quickly and politely turned him down because she wanted to keep the spotlight on its new star, Emily Blunt.
"Julie was incredibly gracious, and we talked about it in a very general way but she made it clear right up front," Marshall told EW. "She said, 'This is Emily's show, and I really want it to be Emily's show. I don't want it to be, "Oh, here comes that Mary Poppins." I don't want that. I really want her to take this and run with it, because she will be brilliant.'"
Marshall also recalled the moment he and his producing partner John DeLuca told Andrews at her Christmas party years ago that a sequel was in the works and Blunt was their one and only choice.
"She had known it was in the works, then we said, 'We're doing it,' and she said, 'Oh, thank God,'" he shared. "Then we said, 'And we're thinking of Emily Blunt,' and she just threw her hands up in the air and said yes. I think a lot of people feel that way about Emily's work."
Fans of the original can at least take solace in the fact that Dick van Dyke is returning for Mary Poppins Returns. The 91-year-old actor is Mr. Dawes Jr., who is the chairman of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank.
Mary Poppins Returns is set in 1930s depression-era London (the time period of the original novels) and is drawn from the wealth of material in PL Travers' additional seven books. In the story, Michael (Ben Whishaw) and Jane (Emily Mortimer) are now grown up, with Michael, his three children and their housekeeper, Ellen (Julie Walters), living on Cherry Tree Lane. After Michael suffers a personal loss, the enigmatic nanny Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) re-enters the lives of the Banks family, and, along with the optimistic street lamplighter Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), uses her unique magical skills to help THE FAMILY rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives. Mary Poppins also introduces the children to a new assortment of colorful and whimsical characters, including her eccentric cousin, Topsy (Meryl Streep).
The cast also includes Colin Firth plays William Weatherall Wilkins, the man who runs Fidelity Fiduciary Bank, and Dick Van Dyke plays Mr. Dawes Jr., the chairman of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank, as well as three new Banks children, played by Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, and newcomer Joel Dawson.
It's being directed and produced by Oscar-nominee, Emmy and DGA Award winner Rob Marshall (Into the Woods, Chicago). The screenplay is by Oscar-nominee David Magee (Life of Pi), based on The Mary Poppins Stories by PL Travers. Oscar-nominee and Tony-winner Marc Shaiman (Hairspray) is composing an original score and co-writing all new songs with Emmy-nominee and Tony-winner Scott Wittman (Hairspray).
Mary Poppins Returns is scheduled for release December 25, 2018.