When word got out that Emily Blunt had been cast as the title character in Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns, the overwhelming response from most people was, “Well, sure.” Blunt has proven herself to be genre agnostic over the years, as likely to wow audiences in a science-fiction or action film as she is in a light-hearted comedy. That alone would make her an ideal candidate for Mary Poppins — as the rare actress capable of convincing audiences that she’d do justice to an iconic character — but she also bears a physical resemblance to Julie Andrews to boot. You couldn’t ask for better casting.
Dick Van Dyke remains a beloved and esteemed entertainer at age 91, fondly remembered for his charismatic performances as a hapless songwriter in Bye Bye Birdie and a sooty-faced chimneysweep in Disney’s 1964 musical Mary Poppins. What he’s remembered decidedly less fondly for is the other role he played in the period-piece musical, elderly bank chairman Mr. Dawes, Senior. Clad in old-age makeup and credited as “Nackvid Keyd” (an anagram of Dick Van Dyke), the notorious D.V.D. busted out a frightfully bad Cockney accent in his scenes as the tight-fisted money man. Widely mocked at the time and voted the second-worst accent ever in a poll from Empire, it was not the high point of Van Dyke’s impressive career.
Disney is really doubling down on its growing live-action reboot / remake empire, claiming five more release dates for its upcoming projects and officially confirming several previously reported films, including The Jungle Book 2, Maleficent 2, Tim Burton’s Dumbo and more. The studio now has a total of seven release dates set for various live-action projects, and though they have yet to formally attach specific titles to these dates, reports suggest that at least one of the new dates belongs to The Jungle Book sequel.
As they have grown rather fond of doing, Disney is looking back at one of their past hits in order to create some future success. After modern day versions of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Alice in Wonderland (not to mention, upcoming versions of Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book), Disney has hired Rob Marshall (Chicago, Into the Woods) to direct a new Mary Poppins musical based on P.L. Travers’ original children’s books.