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Mary Poppins Returns: Inside the magical sequel 50 years in the making

Mary Poppins Returns, directed by Rob Marshall (Into the Woods), picks up 25 years after the events of the first film, fast-forwarding to London’s mid-1930s economic slump, the actual time period of Travers’ books. Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane has become the warm, loving home that banker and artist Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) shares with his wife and three children. But after the sudden death of Michael’s wife, the Banks family is shattered — even enthusiastic aunt Jane (Emily Mortimer), now a fervent union organizer, and long-time housemaid Ellen (Julie Walters) can’t help lift spirits — and so in time, the once-blossoming home is on the verge of foreclosure.

Cue the arrival of prim and peculiar Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt), who leads Michael’s wayward children (and Jane and Michael themselves) on a series of unbelievable adventures — to the top of Big Ben, the bottom of the ocean, into magical encounters with animated dancing penguins and upside-down cousins (hey, Meryl Streep!). If anyone can help this family find the light they’ve lost, it’s Mary Poppins.

Contending with five decades of a practically-perfect legacy, the sequel’s filmmakers have dedicated themselves to being as faithful and respectful to the iconic original as possible while still crafting a fresh new family musical. “The bar is so high for this,” says Marshall, who also directed the Oscar-winning Chicago. “But to be able to walk in the footsteps of this beautiful story about a woman who brings magic to this family that’s looking for wonder and hope and joy in their lives… I feel a great responsibility and reverence every day. We all feel it. We’re just lifting it up to get there with the right intentions behind it.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by the cast, full of lifelong lovers of Mary Poppins like Blunt (who earned Julie Andrews’ blessing as the character long before the first camera rolled) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (who plays Mary’s pal Jack, a winsome lamplighter and former apprentice of Dick Van Dyke’s famed chimney sweep, Bert). Even the creative departments abound with folks who know the stakes and want to get this right: Tony-winning composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray) penned a new score that sounds downright Poppins-esque, while costume designer Sandy Powell and her team worked to bring the iconic looks of Mary and the Banks family into the stylish 1930s.

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though logic would dictate that the leper smells the worst because his body is literally rotting away, he has to change his bandages and clean his flesh on a fairly regular basis so he never ends up smelling that bad. the actual worst smelling one is the highwayman, because he’s a nasty dirty smelly crime boy who lived in the woods robbing carriages and was never quite able to break those nonexistent hygiene habits once he got to the hamlet. 

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Emily Blunt: surely tied with Kirsten Dunst as the young actress who’s most overdue to receive her first Oscar nomination. Blunt has already gotten a Screen Actors Guild nomination, two BAFTA nominations and five Golden Globe nominations (including a win for Stephen Poliakoff’s 2005 TV movie Gideon’s Daughter). Here she is pictured as Tamsin in My Summer of Love (2004, Pawel Pawlikowski), Emily in The Devil Wears Prada (2006, David Frankel), Rita in The Edge of Tomorrow (2014, Doug Liman; with Tom Cruise), the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods (2014, Rob Marshall), Kate in Sicario (2015, Denis Villeneuve) and Rachel in The Girl on the Train (2016, Tate Taylor).

Your first look images from Mary Poppins Returns!

New details and images for Disney’s highly anticipated ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ have been revealed in this week’s latest issue of ‘Entertainment Weekly.’

In addition to the many images from the film, including behind-the-scenes and production design, the article also provided us with details as to the reasons for Ms Poppins’ latest adventure;

“Mary Poppins Returns, directed by Rob Marshall (’Into the Woods’), picks up 25 years after the events of the first film, fast-forwarding to London’s mid-1930s economic slump, the actual time period of Travers’ books. Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane has become the warm, loving home that banker and artist Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) shares with his wife and three children.

But after the sudden death of Michael’s wife, the Banks family is shattered - even enthusiastic aunt Jane (Emily Mortimer), now a fervent union organiser, and long-time housemaid Ellen (Julie Walters) can’t help lift spirits - and so in time, the once-blossoming home is on the verge of foreclosure.

Cue the arrival of prim and peculiar Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt), who leads Michael’s wayward children (and Jane and Michael themselves) on a series of unbelievable adventures - to the top of Big Ben, the bottom of the ocean, into magical encounters with animated dancing penguins and upside-down cousins (hey, Meryl Streep!).

If anyone can help this family find the light they’ve lost, it’s Mary Poppins.”

‘Mary Poppins Returns’ is released December 2018.

My favorite place to be? I have a few! My room in my house. The park in my neighborhood. The woods behind Robs’ house. The study lounges in the dorms where I attend university. They’re pretty cool and the view is always lovely. Finally, there’s an office out of the way on campus that me and many of the good friends I’ve made have exclusive access to. Its’ really peaceful and nicely decorated. If you or anyone else from the pack visits me at school, I’ll show you around campus sometime.

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Favorite Films: Ghosts of Mississippi (1996)

President John F. Kennedy in his landmark civil rights speech to the nation, delivered on the very night Medgar Evers was murdered, said: “We face a moral crisis as a country and as a people. Those who do nothing are inviting shame, as well as violence. Those who act boldly are recognizing right, as well as reality.” Today, thirty years later, on behalf of the State of Mississippi I’m asking you twelve ladies and gentlemen to act boldly; to hold this defendant accountable and find him guilty simply because it is right, it is just, and Lord knows, it is time. Is it ever too late to do the right thing? For the sake of justice and for the hope of us as a civilized society, I sincerely pray that it is not.  

Into The Woods Movie Facts
  • Because director Rob Marshall prefers to use CGI or green screens as little as possible, Chris Pine had to stand in the background completely still and silent for two entire days of filming during Anna Kendrick’s performance of ‘On the Steps of the Palace’.
  • According to Anna Kendrick, the set pieces used for the woods were so big and realistic that she and Chris Pine actually got lost while on the sound stage and had to be rescued by a production assistant.
  • At a Q&A session after screening of the film, James Corden recalled an incident during rehearsals in which Meryl Streep jumped on a table and her foot got caught in her costume. She started falling backwards, head first, toward a concrete floor. Both Corden and director Rob Marshall froze in the fear that they were about to witness the death of Meryl Streep. However, Emily Blunt stepped in and caught Streep before she hit the floor.
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz, Donna Murphy, Idina Menzel, Miranda Richardson, Kate Winslet, and Nicole Kidman were considered for the Witch.
  • This is the fourth time Lucy Punch has played a stepsister type role. Previous projects are Ella Enchanted, Cinderella 2000, and a BBC version of Cinderella.
  • Emily Blunt revealed that the “Any Moment” sequence was rehearsed when she was about three months into her pregnancy and it was filmed when she was about seven months pregnant. The change showed during filmed as Blunt noted that during the scene Chris Pine dips her during a dance and that Pine’s arms were shaking due to the change in weight.
  • In the movie, Cinderella has golden slippers; this is a reference to the original Grimm fairytale, in which the slippers are gold.
  • Though he is top-billed, Johnny Depp appears in nearly five minutes of the film.
  • During the establishing shot of the palace on the first night of the ball, a brief underscore excerpt is used of the “Night Waltz” from another Sondheim musical, “A Little Night Music.”

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I asked Johnny Depp to play the Wolf, we had worked on Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides together and he said to me that he was excited about trying different things, playing some smaller roles and being part of an ensemble and I told him that this part was it. He was thrilled because he had played Sweeney in Sweeney Todd and he was excited to do another Sondheim musical. Plus he loved the idea of playing the big bad wolf - that was really exciting for him. And he loved being part of an ensemble, which is what this is. It’s a fantastic ensemble of actors.
—  Dir. Rob Marshall on Johnny Depp’s involvement in Into The Woods.
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Into the Woods (2014) - Rob Marshall

5 bullets on this film:

  • If you enjoy musicals like me (I literally know the lyrics to every song in Les Mis) you will probably like Into the Woods. But if you don’t, I’m sorry. You will probably suffer watching it, because it’s very long and you will most likely think all the songs sound the same. 
  • The scenery is impressive and the makeup is greaaatttt.
  • So many great actors, wow, it looks like George Clooney’s wedding. Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Johnny Depp, Tracey Ullman, Anna Kendrick, I DON’T EVEN KNOW ANYMORE.
  • The songs are cute, but sometimes annoying and repetitive. The singing is great though.
  • The story is nice, but it’s a little confusing for those who haven’t watched the original play.