×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Premiere: Cast and Crew Talk Pressure of Living Up to the Original Film

When composers and lyricists Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman won the opportunity to create new songs for a “Mary Poppins Returns,” it wasn’t all celebration.

“We heard we were up for it, and we were ravenous to do it, and yet petrified at the same time,” Shaiman told Variety‘s Marc Malkin on Thursday at the movie’s red carpet premiere in Hollywood. “It’s very scary, and believe me I won’t be reading under any of the comments sections of anything having to do with our songs.”

HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 29: (L-R) Actors Lin-Manuel Miranda, Emily Blunt and Director/producer Rob Marshall onstage during Disney's 'Mary Poppins Returns' World Premiere at the Dolby Theatre on November 29, 2018 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney) *** Local Caption *** Lin-Manuel Miranda; Emily Blunt; Rob Marshall

Looking at the film’s legacy, it’s easy to see where Shaiman’s trepidation come from. The original “Mary Poppins” received 13 Oscar nominations and five wins, one of which was for Best Original Music Score.

Mary Poppins Returns” director Rob Marshall also felt the pressure of living up to the original. “It was the hardest project I’ve ever done because it was literally like three movies in one,” he said. “We were creating an original musical, and this very sort of delicate balancing act of paying homage to the first film but creating something completely new. That was a challenge the entire time.”

Following in the footsteps of its 1964 predecessor, “Mary Poppins Returns” still features the film’s titular nanny, but this time it’s Emily Blunt who arrives at the home of the Banks family, now with a Michael (Ben Wishaw) raising children of his own after his wife dies.

Emily Blunt and Dick Van Dyke 'Mary Poppins Returns' film premiere, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 29 Nov 2018

Playing Michael’s sister Jane is Emily Mortimer, who said she never dreamed of being cast in a “Mary Poppins” sequel. Mortimer  also shared her favorite song from the original, “Sister Suffragette,” the lyrics of which she said is perfect for the #MeToo era: “Though we adore men individually/ We agree that as a group they’re rather stupid!”

Ben Whishaw echoed Mortimer’s statements, saying he also never imagined he would be acting in a “Mary Poppins” film, especially since the film had such an enormous impact on his childhood.

“When I was a child, I loved it so much. I watched it endless times,” he said. “It’s always had a very profound place in my heart I suppose.”

Bob Iger and Emily Blunt attend The World Premiere of Disney's Mary Poppins Returns at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Wednesday, November 29, 2018.(Photo: Alex J. Berliner/ABImages)

Disney shut down a block of Hollywood Boulevard with a tented red carpet leading to the screening at the Dolby Theater. An after party in the Ray Dolby Ballroom featured jugglers, ballon animal makers, a cotton candy stand and displays of the movie’s Sandy Powell-designed costumes for the movie. The menu included English staples, including Shepherd’s pie.

The guest list included Blunt’s husband John KrasinskiMatt Damon, Allison Janney, John Stamos, Matthew Morrison, celebrity chef Ina Garten, Caroline Rhea, Billy Crystal, Beth Behrs, Topher Grace and Jenifer Lewis, among many others.

Ben Whishaw, a cast member in "Mary Poppins Returns," poses at the premiere of the film at the Dolby Theatre, in Los Angeles LA Premiere of "Mary Poppins Returns", Los Angeles, USA - 29 Nov 2018

More Film

  • Aquaman 2018

    Film News Roundup: 'Aquaman' Sets Pre-Sales Record

    In today’s film news roundup, “Aquaman” sets a pre-sales record, “Bohemian Rhapsody” hits a milestone, and SAG-AFTRA promotes four executives. PRE-SALES RECORD “Aquaman” has set a pre-sales record for Atom Tickets, topping “Deadpool 2,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “Black Panther.” “Clearly, ‘Aquaman’ has captured the attention of movie fans with its larger-than-life adventure that must [...]

  • 'Liga' Kicks Off At Ventana Sur's

    Ventana Sur: 'La Liga' Kicks Off at Buenos Aires' Animation!

    Spain’s Quirino Awards, Argentina’s Animation! and Mexico’s Pixelatl Festival, three key events in Ibero-American animation, will join forces to create La Liga (The League), as announced Wednesday at an Animation! round table hosted by the Quirino Awards, titled “Iberoamerican Alliance Models.” Speakers included Quirino Awards promoter José Luis Farias, Mexico’s Pixelatl director José Iñesta, Gonzalo [...]

  • The Quake Review

    Film Review: 'The Quake'

    Roar Uthaug’s 2015 “The Wave” revived the pleasures of the 1970s disaster-movie cycle in a form that seemed purer than the never-quite-dead genre’s recent Stateside incarnations — most of which seem to involve Dwayne Johnson in a generic pileup of CGI perils. “The Wave” wasn’t high art, but it was entertainment that delivered some standard [...]

  • The Mule trailer

    Film Review: Clint Eastwood in 'The Mule'

    From Dirty Harry to … dirty grandpa, Clint Eastwood certainly has a type of character that he plays best, and “The Mule” finds him squarely in his comfort zone, appearing as a surly old horticulturalist who, at age 90, has become perhaps the most reliable drug runner for the Sinaloa cartel, evading detection for nearly [...]

  • Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, ‘The Realm,’

    ‘The Realm,’ ‘Champions,’ Cruz and Bardem Among Spanish Academy Goya Nominations

    MADRID — Spain’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today the nominees for the 33rdedition of the Goya Awards, to be held at the Palacio de Congresos y Exposiciones in Sevilla on Feb. 2, 2019. Leading the pack with 13 nominations is Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s ultra-current political thriller “The Realm,” which impressed in San [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content