Mary Poppins Returns brings magic to the world in uncertain times
The return of Mary Poppins to the big screen brings some much needed magic to the world in uncertain times, the cast of the new film about the beloved whimsical titular nanny said at the recent London premiere.
More than 50 years since Julie Andrews won over children and adults around the world with her portrayal of the strict but kind protagonist, Disney's Mary Poppins Returns sees Emily Blunt's version doing just that - visiting the now grown-up Michael and Jane Banks (Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer) in early 20th-century London in their time of need.
Like the original, Mary Poppins Returns features fantasy sequences and plenty of dance numbers - even bringing back the animated dancing penguins.
Directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago, Nine, Into The Woods), it opens here on Dec 25.
British actress Blunt led the cast down a blue carpet, just hours after receiving another award nomination for the role based on the books written by P.L. Travers.
Her name has popped up on lists from the Critics' Choice Movie Awards, Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards.
"She has a lot of relevance for people around the world when things feel rather fragile," Blunt said of the character.
"She is a great unifier."
She added: "It really is a trip down nostalgia lane and paying homage to these incredible movies that we all grew up watching, which are so representative of everything we remember as children."
She said she had not spoken recently to Andrews, who won an Oscar for her performance in the 1964 original.
"I hear she has just seen the film and loved it so that means a lot to us," said Blunt, who like Andrews sings in the movie. "I hope that generations to come will sing these songs... They are catchy and wonderful."
Mary Poppins Returns is set some 20 years after the first film, with audiences now introduced to Michael Banks' own three children.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the award-winning Hamilton musical, plays lamp lighter Jack - a similar role to Dick Van Dyke's chimney sweep in the original.
"Mary Poppins doesn't come along when everything is okay. Mary Poppins comes along when there is trouble," he said.
"I feel like the world is in a scary time and so it feels like a movie the world needs right now."
Meryl Streep, who also stars in the film, said: "It could be seen as being sort of a joyless moment in time and it is good to remember what is lovely in life," she said. - REUTERS