Find Out How Emily Blunt Prepared To Take On The Role Of Mary Poppins
Find Out How Emily Blunt Prepared To Take On The Role Of Mary Poppins. Wow! What a whirlwind the last couple of weeks have been! I am so stinkin’ excited to finally get to share one of the many highlights of my trip to Los Angeles to the Mary Poppins Returns red carpet with all of you. I sat down, in the same room, at the same table…with Emily Blunt and was able to hear all about how she prepared for her role as the iconic Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins Returns.
Emily walked into the room and, immediately, there was this energy! Everyone applauded and she just walked in as if she had known us all before. I was sitting by the door where she came in, which put me in an amazing spot to really soak in her energy as she walked past me. Of course she looked stunning. She smiled in a way that I could appreciate so much more after seeing her as Mary Poppins the night before. Her dress was perfect and the way she smiled at the group of moms was like we were lifelong friends. It is always so much fun to see these big movie stars just relax and take down their guard for a few minutes while they are talking to us; just a group of moms.
What was your favorite costume and why?
Emily Blunt: I have to say I really loved the red suit with the skirt that kind of flowed out when I danced with 30 Lamplighters. I was like yes! I remember Rob Marshall really wanted like a Ginger Rogers type of look to that and it’s not actually accurate for the time period to have a skirt that open up like that. That’s where the great Sandy Powell created all those very tight pleats so that it looked very chic and sort of straight lined. And then when I turned, the whole skirt kind of opened up and she’s just so exciting to work with, Sandy Powell. All the costumes are so extraordinary but I think the red suit was pretty epic, loved it.
Was that also your favorite scene in the film or did you have a different one?
Emily Blunt: God there were so many that I loved. I mean, I love the poignancy of the Ballad that I sing to the kids cause it’s sort of her revealing her most tender side cause she’s such a weird eccentric lady and she’s stern and shows great humanity and shows great depth because she comes into their lives to heal and to bring order to chaos and reintroduce the idea of Magic. She doesn’t let you know that so it’s sort of exciting to play someone who’s in command of the environment and yet pretends, kind of, not to be. She expects nothing in return so I would say that scene with the kids was really moving and then I loved that big, the cover is not the book number, with Lin, it was like wild, you know. That was really fun.
What was the moment where you were like Holy Smokes?
Emily Blunt: I would say the arrival scene where I am dangling 60 feet from a crane and Rob Marshall played the amazing orchestral music from the speakers, like blared it from the speakers so that it was very transporting and really exciting but I was kind of terrified at that. I thought I was alright with heights and then I was up there and like I’m not.
I remember hanging up there and looking down to Lin Manual-Miranda was like that big. And I was like Oh My God. But I think that was the moment because I had the coat, the hat, the umbrella, the feet, the kite and that was when it was one of the only moments I allowed myself cause I kind of had to block out the fear of how iconic she was in taking this on for most of the shoot. But that was the moment where I allowed myself that moment of I’m gonna vomit like it was really insane. It was I was hit between the eyeballs with it.
Then I remember I landed and we did the scene, and one of the crew guys, this is when you know it’s like a cool scene, is like, he’s like the focus puller. He came up to me and he goes, I’ve got to say I got really emotional watching that, so sweet, cause it’s like she’s back. And we’ve waited 54 years. People have told me that, people who, some of the most cynical people I know were like I cried when she came and I didn’t realize how much I wanted her to come back until I saw her, saw your feet coming out of the clouds. It was so cool.
Describe the impact of Mary Poppins for you being a Mother.
Emily Blunt: I feel my whole household is full of imagination and childlike wonder cause my kids are so young and so I do feel like I’ve sort of rediscovered life through their eyes really. I mean Hazel is a bit disappointed that there aren’t dolphins in her bathtub. So, I feel like actually in a way, Mary Poppins has kind of shot me in the foot; I know I’m only going to be less than. So I think for everyone else, all of their friends are gonna be like your Mum’s Mary Poppins, that’s so cool, and my own kids would be like, you should see it, it’s not. They are gonna be like she is so not Mary Poppins.
What was the biggest challenge?
Emily Blunt: The dancing was a bit daunting because I’d never done those sort of big show stopping Hollywood numbers and the great Rob Marshall and his incredible Choreographers as well as incredible Director. So we were in safe hands. I feel like Lin Manuel and I were sort of on a par with dancing abilities so we were in it to get there, Thank God. If I had been dancing like Justin Timberlake, that would have been really embarrassing. I would say that.
But then on a deeper note, Julie Andrews is so iconic and the character has this searing imprint on people’s lives. It’s often the first movie that anyone ever saw and so it was that. I needed to get over myself and approach her as I would any other role. Everyone was like ‘Oh My God!’. There’s just so much energy coming at you that you have to allow that to be white noise and just approach her as I would any other character. So I think it was the initial overcoming of that and then I just completely fell in love with her. I was just so mad about her by the end. I just loved it.
It’s your version of Mary Poppins, how do you feel about that?
Emily Blunt: Well I think she’s much closer to how she is in the book. That’s how I played her. And in the book, she’s incredibly rude and vain and funny and enigmatic and weird. She’s sort of bizarre and layered and so for me, it was sort of how do I find those cracks of humanity? I said to Rob Marshall, I said the sternness, I really want all the sternness and this sort of imperious quality to her, like to drop when she goes into these Fantasies. She should be like an adrenaline junkie and that sort of duality of the character.
When she goes into these adventures, you’ve got to see her childlike wonder and her thrill and enjoyment of it. Then when it’s over, she pretends none of it happened and she had nothing to do with it. It’s so cool playing someone with that duality to them.
What’s it like working with Dick Van Dyke?
Emily Blunt: Oh My God. It was so overwhelming I have to say because he’s so sprightly and cool. What a gorgeous human. He walked on set and said I feel the same spirit here that was there on the first movie, and of course, we all wanted to cry. We’d sit around him and just want him to tell us stories about the original. He sang “Jolly Holiday” to me. I was just like that’s it, I could die now. I could die and be happy. It’s just lights out, awesome moment.
I think probably actually my other moment of Oh My God, I’m playing Mary Poppins was in the scene with him where he has that beautiful monologue that was so gorgeous to Michael Banks. We’re all crowded around him and the music starts, and he finishes the monologue and in the scene, he crosses his arms and he looks up at me like that. And I just remember looking at those iconic blue eyes and I was like Wow, that was so wild.
Don’t forget your Funko Pop!
Oh yes, in honor of Mary Poppins Returns, Funko Pop! has created vinyl figures just for us. Check them out below:
- Mary Poppins Returns Mary With Kite Pop! Vinyl Figure
- Mary Poppins Returns Mary With Skirt Bag Pop! Vinyl Figure
- Mary Poppins Returns Mary Pink Dress Pop! Vinyl Figure
- Mary Poppins Returns Jack The Lamplighter Pop! Vinyl Figure
About Mary Poppins Returns:
In Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, an all-new original musical and sequel, 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. Emily Blunt stars as the practically-perfect nanny with unique magical skills who can turn any ordinary task into an unforgettable, fantastic adventure and Lin-Manuel Miranda plays her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter who helps bring light—and life—to the streets of London.
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MARY POPPINS RETURNS arrives in theatres everywhere on December 19th!