THIS AIN’T YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S MARY POPPINS! Which is to say, Emily is doing her own take on the character instead of mimicking the practically perfect poise Julie delivered in the 1964 original. In fact, she didn’t rewatch the original in preparation of the role, not wanting to tamper with Julie’s legacy and convolute her own turn as the character.
“No one can out-Julie Julie Andrews, and I was worried my instincts would be diluted,” she told the Radio Times. “What if I don’t measure up? In some ways, because there’s always those inklings of self-doubt. At the same time I felt relieved. I hadn’t watched it before. I knew, just because of how brilliant Julie Andrews was, that I’d made the right choice.”
“I could celebrate her version for being quite separate to what I did,” she continued. “There was a bright line between my experience playing her and my experience watching Julie play her.”
If you’re feeling nostalgic, though, Dick Van Dyke has a cameo in the new Mary Poppins.
Unlike Julie, there was no hesitation when it came to joining the new Mary Poppins cast. In an actor-on-actor conversation, Lin-Manuel Miranda asked what his reaction was to Mary Poppins part two. “Well, I got excited, of course,” the actor shared. “My first question was, ‘Can I be in it?” Awwww, bless!
This time around he won’t be playing old chimney-sweeping Bert — the Bert stand-in for this movie is actually Lin-Manuel’s character, the lamplighter Jack. Instead, Dick Van Dyke is echoing his other character, Mr. Dawes Sr, by playing the banker’s son, Mr. Dawes Jr, because you know, like 30-ish years have passed since Mary Poppins first visited the Banks family.
Wait, you didn’t know he played the crotchety old banker who discouraged the kids from feeding the birds? Well, he was! In fact, he really argued to get that role.
“I had to go to Walt [Disney] and ask him for the part. He wouldn’t give it to me,” Dick explained. “I said, ‘I’ll do it for nothing.’ Actually, I had to give him $4,000 — I paid him to do the part.”
And Dick looks nearly identical to Mr. Dawes Sr., growing in a familiar looking white beard and requiring far less prosthetics this time around. “They made me a gorgeous head of hair and a beard and everything,” he said. “I said, ‘Do you know you’re making up a 91-year-old man to look like a 91-year-old man?’”
Despite the lack of Julie Andrews, the new Mary Poppins feels vetted by its old stars.
So even though Julie Andrews will be missed in this fresh adventure, we feel calm knowing that Mary Poppins Returns is highly endorsed by Ol’ Bert and, well, Mary Poppins. Mary Poppins Returns hits theaters December 19, and we’re looking forward to seeing what Emily Blunt pulls out of her carpet bag. But if you still want to hear Julie’s mellifluous voice this season, you can catch her Mary Poppins’ big box office competition, Aquaman, where she’ll be voicing the sea creature Karathen.
Or just watch Sound of Music or Princess Diaries again, don’t be weird.