Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. That's what you say when you're not sure what to say, right?
That's basically the response to the news that Disney will be making a sequel to perhaps its greatest film of all time, 1964's "Mary Poppins." Set to star Emily Blunt and Lin Manuel-Miranda, "Mary Poppins Returns" is set to be released Christmas Day 2018 and will be a true sequel with the eponymous practically perfect nanny returning to visit a now grown Jane and Michael and Michael's three children.
Blunt will play Poppins, and Miranda will take a break from playing Alexander Hamilton and winning Pulitzers, Tonys, and Grammys to play a new character, Jack, a street lamplighter in Depression-era London.
Yes, it will be a musical, with a score and new songs written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, best known for collaborating on John Waters' "Hairspray". The film will be directed by Rob Marshall, whose experience directing both "Into the Woods" and "Chicago" is relevant, especially since he will be reuniting with Blunt, who played the Baker's Wife in "Into the Woods."
Honestly? I'm not sure what to make of this. Disney has generally done a good job with its live action updates to their classics, but "Mary Poppins" is such a huge mountain to climb. Marshall has shown himself to be a competent director, but I think "Into the Woods" was just ok and his Pirates of the Caribbean movie is still one of the most bafflingly awful things this side of Michael Bay I have ever experienced. And while Shaiman and Wittman have proven themselves competent, there is just no replacing the genius of The Sherman Brothers.
One thing that seems a no-brainer, though, is an obligatory Dick Van Dyke cameo-- perhaps reprising his role as an elderly, decrepit bank employee?
The thing that is most intriguing here is Miranda's involvement. The guy is fast on his way to earning a PEGOT (same as an EGOT, but with a Pultizer too) but he'll stop his reign on Broadway to do this? He could literally choose to do anything right now, and this is what he chooses? He must know something I don't.
So I'll remain cautiously optimistic, and we'll see if this is a spoonful of sugar or castor oil.
Look! A press release!!
EMILY BLUNT AND LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA TO STAR IN
“MARY POPPINS RETURNS,” THE SEQUEL TO THE STUDIO’S 1964 CLASSIC,
DIRECTED BY ROB MARSHALL
“Mary Poppins Returns” To Be Released December 25, 2018
BURBANK, Calif. (May 31, 2016) – Golden Globe Award® winner Emily Blunt (“Into the Woods,” the upcoming “Girl on the Train”) and Emmy®, GRAMMY®, Tony Award® and Pulitzer Prize winner Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Hamilton,” “In the Heights”) are set to star in “Mary Poppins Returns,” a sequel to the studio’s 1964 classic, “Mary Poppins,” which will be released on December 25, 2018.
Reuniting the director and producing team behind Disney’s hit film musical “Into the Woods,” the film will be directed by Oscar® nominee, Emmy® and DGA Award winner Rob Marshall and produced by Marshall, Emmy winner and Golden Globe® nominee John DeLuca and Oscar, Emmy and Tony Award® nominee and Golden Globe winner Marc Platt. The screenplay will be written by Oscar nominee David Magee based on The Mary Poppins Stories by P.L. Travers, with Oscar nominee and Tony Award winner Marc Shaiman composing an all-new score and Shaiman and Emmy nominee and Tony Award winner Scott Wittman writing original songs.
Blunt has been cast as Mary Poppins and Miranda will play a new character, a street lamplighter named Jack. Drawing from the wealth of material in P.L. Travers’ seven additional novels, the story will take place in Depression-era London (when the books were originally written) and follows a now-grown Jane and Michael Banks, who, along with Michael’s three children, are visited by the enigmatic Mary Poppins following a personal loss. Through her unique magical skills, and with the aid of her friend Jack, she helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives.
“I am truly humbled and honored to be asked by Disney to bring P.L. Travers’ further adventures to the screen. The iconic original film means so much to me personally, and I look forward to creating an original movie musical that can bring Mary Poppins, and her message that childlike wonder can be found in even the most challenging of times, to a whole new generation,” says Marshall.
P.L. Travers introduced the world to the no-nonsense nanny in her 1934 book “Mary Poppins,” which Disney adapted for the screen and released in August, 1964. The film, which was directed by Robert Stevenson and starred Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, won five Academy Awards®, including Best Actress for Andrews. However, the subsequent adventures of Mary Poppins remained only on the pages of P.L. Travers’ seven additional books, which she published between 1935 and 1988.
About Walt Disney Studios:
For over 90 years, The Walt Disney Studios has been the foundation on which The Walt Disney Company was built. Today, the Studio brings quality movies, music and stage plays to consumers throughout the world. Feature films are released under the following banners: Disney, including Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios; Disneynature; Marvel Studios; Lucasfilm; and Touchstone Pictures, the banner under which live-action films from DreamWorks Studios are distributed. The Disney Music Group encompasses the Walt Disney Records and Hollywood Records labels, as well as Disney Music Publishing. The Disney Theatrical Group produces and licenses live events, including Disney on Broadway, Disney On Ice and Disney Live!.