×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Mary Poppins Returns’: Why Julie Andrews Turned Down a Cameo

Mary Poppins Returns” is being hailed as “practically perfect in every way” and a worthy followup to the 1964 classic. It’s a movie that recaptures the optimism and magic that made the original such a beloved family film. Though Dick Van Dyke makes a singing and dancing return in “Mary Poppins Returns,” best actress Oscar winner Julie Andrews is notably missing in action.

That’s not for lack of trying. Director Rob Marshall told Variety that he approached Andrews about making a cameo early on in the project’s development, but she deferred out of respect for Emily Blunt, who was tasked with putting her own spin on the flying nanny.

“She immediately said no,” Marshall said at the premiere of “Mary Poppins Returns.” “She said, ‘This is Emily’s show and I want her to run with this. She should run with this. This is hers. I don’t want to be on top of that.'”

Marshall said he and his writers never pitched the 83-year old actress on a specific role. However, a source with knowledge of the production, said that the producers considered Andrews for the role of the balloon lady, a part played by another screen icon, Angela Lansbury, in the sequel.

Blunt echoed Marshall’s comments during an interview for Variety’s upcoming Actors on Actors issue.

“She was very hands-off with the whole thing,” she said.

“There was discussion about, you know, that maybe she would come and do a bit in the movie and she was so generous actually,” Blunt added. “She said to Rob, ‘Do you know what this is? This is Emily’s version of her and I don’t want it to be that she’s playing Mary Poppins the whole way through but then I come in and there’s like oh, but there’s the real Mary Poppins, you know?'”

If Andrews was approached about joining the film, producer Marc Platt didn’t get the memo.

“She wasn’t supposed to be in it at all,” insisted Platt during a red carpet interview. “But she’s a friend of Rob’s and a friend of ours and a big fan of Emily Blunt and has been lovely since day one about how this is Emily’s turn and how happy she is for her…And it’s Emily’s turn. It’s a different story and a different time. There will only be one Julie Andrews and after people see this film they’ll be able to say with equal joy that there’s only one Emily Blunt.”

“Mary Poppins Returns” hits theaters on Dec. 19. It is on track to be a major hit at the holiday box office, with a projected $70 million gross over its first week of release. Its major competition will be from “Aquaman,” a superhero movie that features Andrews as the voice of an underseas creature named Karathen.

More Film

  • General Delegate of the Cannes Film

    Cannes Reinstates Advance Press Screenings, But Favors TV, Radio Journalists (EXCLUSIVE)

    Following last year’s backlash by film critics over changes to its screenings schedule, the Cannes Film Festival has decided to reinstate morning press screenings for movies having their gala world premieres in the evening. But there’s a catch: Only a few hundred journalists — mainly from TV and radio outlets — will be admitted, and [...]

  • Someone Great

    Film Review: ‘Someone Great’

    There simply aren’t enough modern romantic comedies that cherish the merits of female friendship in the aftermath of a romantic breakup. There are even fewer that feel like a personal, lived-in experience. Female-driven raunchcoms (like “Girls Trip”) have explored this territory to a certain extent, though many stop short of delivering genuine poignancy (like “Rough [...]

  • Actresses take part in the #metoo

    Cannes Grows More Inclusive, Boosts Number of Female Filmmakers

    In 1946, the inaugural year of the Cannes Film Festival, Barbara Virginia’s surrealist film, “Tres dias sem Deus” debuted in competition. Over the subsequent seven decades, as it has grown in stature to become one of the world’s premier film gatherings, Cannes hasn’t matched that early promise in highlighting female artists. Finally, the powers that [...]

  • Rocketman

    Cannes: 2019 Lineup Includes 'Rocketman' and Films by 13 Women

    The 72nd Cannes Film Festival has announced its lineup, unveiling an official selection that includes 13 female filmmakers, a number of genre movies, more American titles than last year and an opportunity for Elton John to make a star turn on the Croisette. Twelve of the 47 films announced Thursday are directed by women (one [...]

  • Cannes Unveils 2019 Official Selection (Watch

    Cannes Lineup Announcement: How to Watch

    The 72nd Cannes Film Festival is announcing the films chosen for “official selection” — including those competing for the event’s coveted Palme d’Or prize — in a press conference Thursday starting at 11 a.m. in Paris. The livestream of the press conference is available here. (Please note that the broadcast seldom starts on time.) Last [...]

  • Godzilla

    'Godzilla' Owner Toho Poised for Expansion in Hollywood

    Toho, the largest movie group in Japan, is expanding a subsidiary in the U.S. with a view to working more with Hollywood. The company said that its existing Toho International Inc. subsidiary has been injected with $14 million (JPY15.4 billion), through a share issue subscribed to by the parent company. The subsidiary has existed since [...]

  • View Conference Opens Registration for 2019

    2019 View Conference Opens Registration, Calls for Short Film Competition Entries

    Registration is now open for the 2019 edition of the View Conference in Turin, Italy. No speakers have been announced yet, but past conferences have featured some of the world’s top creative talents in visual effects, animation, gaming, virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality. Last year’s edition featured composer Hans Zimmer, Paramount Animation topper [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content