How Emily Blunt became Mary Poppins
Emily Blunt plays the beloved role of Mary Poppins in the newest Disney film Mary Poppins Returns. Julie Andrews brought this classic storybook character to life for Disney over 50 years ago. In this newest adventure, Mary Poppins is played by the incredibly talented Emily Blunt. Jule Andrews undoubtedly left some big shoes to fill, and Emily Blunt was Director Rob Marshall’s first pick. Part of the #MaryPoppinsReturns press junket included the opportunity to sit down with Emily Blunt and discuss how she brought this character to life in her own way. Here are some of the highlights from our conversation with Emily Blunt about playing this cherished character.
From the moment she walked in the interview room, she was open and excited to share about the film and her role in it. When asked what moment took her breath away, that she was REALLY Mary Poppins, she had such a fun answer…
“I would say the arrival scene where I am dangling 60 feet from a crane and Rob Marshall played the amazing orchestral music from the speakers, like blared it from the speakers so that it was very transporting and really exciting but I was kind of terrified at that. I thought I was alright with heights and then I was up there and like, ‘I’m not.’. I remember hanging up there and looking down to Lin-Manuel Miranda….. And I was like ‘Oh My God.’. But I think that was the moment because I had the coat, the hat, the umbrella, the feet.”
“.…it was one of the only moments I allowed myself cause I kind of had to block out the fear of how iconic she was in taking this on for most of the shoot. But that was the moment where I allowed myself that moment of I’m gonna vomit like it was really insane. I was hit between the eyeballs with it. And then I remember I landed and we did the scene, and one of the crew guys, this is when you know it’s like a cool scene, is like, he’s like the focus puller. He came up to me and he goes, “I’ve got to say I got really emotional watching that…’, so sweet, cause it’s like she’s back. And we’ve waited 54 years and people have told me that, people who, some of the most cynical people I know were like I cried when she came and I didn’t realize how much I wanted her to come back until I saw her, saw your feet coming out of the clouds. It was so cool.”
When asked what the most challenging part of this film was for her, she has a simple and deep answer.
First she said “The dancing was a bit daunting because I’d never done those sort of big show stopping Hollywood numbers and the great Rob Marshall is incredible Choreographers as well as incredible Director. So we were in safe hands. I feel like Lin Manuel and I were sort of on a par with dancing abilities so we were in it together, thank God. If I had been dancing like Justin Timberlake, that would have been really embarrassing.” She added, “But then on a deeper note, I think the initial idea of taking her on because she is so iconic and Julie Andrews is so iconic and the character has this searing imprint on people’s lives. It’s often the first movie that anyone ever saw and so it was that, I needed to get over myself I think and sort of approach her as I would any other role and allow everyone’s sort of gasping reaction when I said I was gonna take on Mary Poppins. Everyone was like [GASP] Oh My God. There’s just so much energy coming at you that you have to allow that to be white noise and just approach her as I would any other character. So I think it was the initial overcoming of that and then I just completely fell in love with her. I was just so mad about her by the end. I just loved it, loved it.”
The costumes in Mary Poppins Returns, designed by Sandy Powell are beautiful and incredibly detailed. Emily Blunt loved all her costumes, but said that one it particular was her favorite.
“I have to say I really loved the red suit with the skirt that kind of flowed out when I danced with 30 Lamplighters, I was like yes, you know. And I remember Rob Marshall really wanted like a Ginger Rogers type of look to that and it’s not actually accurate for the time period to have a skirt that opened up like that. So that’s where Sandy Powell, the great Sandy Powell created all those very tight pleats so that it looked very chic and sort of straight lined. And then when I turned, the whole skirt kind of opened up and she’s just so exciting to work with, Sandy Powell. I mean all the costumes are so extraordinary but I think the red suit was pretty epic, loved it.” Emily Blunt
Fans will be especially captivated by Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins acting with Dick Van Dyke. When asked what that was like, it was clear she has great respect for Dick Van Dyke.
“It was so overwhelming I have to say because he’s so sprightly and cool, just what a gorgeous human and he walked on set and he just said I feel the same spirit here that was there on the first movie, and of course, we all wanted to cry.”
Check out photos of Emily Blunt on the red carpet of Mary Poppins Returns – her dress was the most beautiful I have ever seen!
Shop Disney has amazing Mary Poppins Returns merchandise for the Mary Poppins fan on your Christmas list! (I have ornaments and umbrellas, but that purse is on my wish list!). Also, Funko Pop fans, sit down and check out the exclusive Mary Poppins Returns Funko Pops!
Check out this trailer with Emily Blunt playing everyone’s favorite British nanny…
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The official Hashtag: #MaryPoppinsReturns
Mary Poppins Returns opens in theaters everywhere on December 19th. Audiences are already excited so it is a good idea to grab your tickets early! Purchase your tickets through Fandango and skip the lines! As always, thank you to Disney for having me along for #MaryPoppinsReturnsEvent – it was practically perfect in every way!
Movie Stills are by Disney. Interview Photos are by Whiskey & Sunshine. All photos are used with permission.