In Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” an all-new original musical, Mary Poppins is back to help the next generation of the Banks family find the joy and wonder missing in their lives following a personal loss. Directed by Rob Marshall from a screenplay by David Magee and a screen story by Magee & Marshall & John DeLuca based upon the Mary Poppins Stories by PL Travers, the film stars: Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins; Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack; Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks; Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks; Julie Walters as Ellen; Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and Joel Dawson as the Banks children; with Colin Firth as William Weatherall Wilkins; and Meryl Streep as Cousin Topsy.
“Mary Poppins Returns” is produced by John DeLuca, p.g.a., Rob Marshall, p.g.a., and Marc Platt, p.g.a., with Callum McDougall serving as executive producer. The film features all-new original songs with music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman, as well as an original film score by Shaiman.
During a recent press conference in Beverly Hills, CA, we had the opportunity to hear from some of the Cast and Filmmakers. See the full press conference below.
There is a classic nature to the telling of ‘Mary Poppins.’ It requires the essence of classical musical filmmaking, but at the same time is very contemporary and feels very alive and very in the moment,” says producer Marc Platt. “Rob is a master at coordinating all of that. His approach is precise, and he never settles. He finds the magic in every frame, in every scene, in every musical number.”
But without the right actors to bring that magic to life, the work would be in vain. For the role of the proper, peculiar and enigmatic nanny, the filmmakers had only one person in mind: Emily Blunt.
As a director, Marshall also knows what people need…especially actors. He knows how to bring actors and their performances to life and gives them confidence in themselves, creating an environment in which they are able to do their best work. “Rob has a way of reaching people and bringing out the best in themselves,” explains DeLuca. “He has a rapport with his actors and always knows what’s going to make them flourish.”
Because the story takes place in London during the “Great Slump,” director Rob Marshall wanted the world depicted on screen to reflect the setting and period, or in Powell’s words, look “really wintery and dark and gray and foggy, which is basically London in the winter.” With cinematographer Dion Beebe planning to light the interior sets with mostly warm tones and exterior sets with more cool colors and lots of blues, Powell devised a color palette consisting of dark tones and colors for the bulk of the film. Closer to the end of the story when spring arrives, the color palette grew to include pastels and fresher, floral colors.
That look, which was, in turn, inspired by Mary Shepard’s illustrations from the original PL Travers books, was, in fact, a conservative style for nannies from that time period. With “Mary Poppins Returns,” Powell wanted to design something similar—but more relevant to the later ‘30s setting— and quickly set out to create a more modern look for the eccentric nanny that would still honor the essence of the character from the first film.
“The magic, the optimism, the emotion, the hope and the joy that Mary Poppins brings are the same things we’re looking for in our lives today,” says producer Marc Platt. “We want to be uplifted and transported and entertained. We want to be moved. We want to laugh and we want to cry. And ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ delivers all that…and more.”
Mary Poppins Returns flies into theaters nationwide on December 19. Are you excited for this movie and will you be watching it in theaters? Let us know in the comments below.