February 24, 2016
'Mary Poppins' Sequel Underway: If Disney Can Secure The Julie Andrews Replacement They Want

Mary Poppins is the latest in a long line of films set to be reprised in the near future, but this time be a Mary Poppins sequel, not a remake.

Variety reports that the new Mary Poppins film will take place two decades after the original film was set, and will focus on Mary Poppins' ongoing adventures with the same family – the Banks family – as in the original film.

The original Mary Poppins film was based on the books by P.L. Travers, and Variety reports that the storylines for the sequel will continue to borrow from Travers' original works.

Most people would know that the original Mary Poppins film, released in 1964, starred Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, and centered around Julie Andrews character: a nanny with quirky magical powers, who came to work or a family in pre-World War I England. The original Mary Poppins film took in more than $100 million at the box office and won five Oscars. Julie Andrews won the coveted best actress award for her role in the film.

As Vanity Fair reports, when news of Disney's plans to create a sequel to Mary Poppins emerged in late 2015, many people were dubious at best. Julie Andrews is an irreplaceable legend, and it seemed almost sacrilegious to think that she could be replaced by someone else performing the same role.

Luckily, Disney execs are in talks with one particular actress who may be able to pull off the impossible: to replace Julie Andrews within her lifetime, and in arguably one of her two most iconic roles, (with her role as Maria in The Sound of Music being the other role that she is most famous for) without upsetting the legions of Mary Poppins fans spanning many generations around the world.

Who is the proposed actress? Emily Blunt. The star previously worked with Rob Marshall, who is set to direct Disney's new Mary Poppins sequel, on Into the Woods, in which she played the baker's wife. That was the movie in which she proved her ability to perform in a Disney musical as well as anyone else. Vanity Fair reports that Emily Blunt has been the favorite to take the role of Mary Poppins ever since her Into the Woods days in 2014.

While many Mary Poppins fans will breathe a sigh of relief at the news, casting for the role of Mary Poppins is not yet set in stone. Emily Blunt is currently pregnant with her second child, and is understandably taking her pregnancy into account when deciding whether to take on the role.

Marc Platt and John DeLuca have signed up to be producers for the Mary Poppins sequel, and with the producers and directors firmly on board, all that remains now is for Disney execs to sign up Emily Blunt to play the iconic lead role.

Variety reports that, in addition to Into the Woods, Emily Blunt has shown her huge array of acting skills in dramas such as The Girl on the Train, action movies such as Edge of Tomorrow and Sicario, and even comedies including The Five Year Engagement and The Devil Wears Prada. It is no surprise that even the most devout Mary Poppins fans seem to be quite happy for Emily Blunt to take over the iconic role.

In other Mary Poppins news, a live action Mary Poppins theatre performance is currently underway at the Birmingham Hippodrome, and by all accounts Zizi Strallen is making a perfect Mary Poppins so far.

Perhaps, the big difference between Mary Poppins on film and Mary Poppins on the stage is that, in a stage production, wires are used to help the main character to simulate flying. Luckily, Zizi Strallen is a self-confessed "adrenaline junkie" and says that flying across the theatre in her role as Mary Poppins doesn't bother her. In fact, Zizi Strallen likened it to the enjoyment that she would likely get from bungee jumping.
"It's fun for me every night. Bungee jumping? I've never tried but bring it on!"
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]