Walt Disney originally wanted Cary Grant to play Bert, the role that Dick Van Dyke is now famous for portraying in “Mary Poppins.” Even star Emily Blunt was surprised to find that out during Variety’s pop quiz during the premiere of the sequel, “Mary Poppins Returns.”
“Come on, don’t say that in front of Dick Van Dyke,” Blunt deadpanned. “He’s here tonight.”
Blunt, who plays the magical nanny in “Mary Poppins Returns,” was among the actors who knew that the original film starring Julie Andrews was released in 1964. Asked about the number of Oscars the first movie earned, the sequel’s co-lyricist, Scott Wittman, answered perfectly: “Not enough” (it’s five, but he’s not wrong, either).
Tarik Frimpong (Angus), Jeremy Swift (Gooding/Badger), Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (Frye/Weasel), and Emily Mortimer (Jane Banks), who also star in the upcoming film, attended the premiere as well. Mortimer revealed a fun fact of her own about Van Dyke’s other role as the bank director in the original movie.
“Did you know that he had to audition for Walt Disney for that part? And he had to get dressed up in full hair and makeup and persuade Walt,” she said. “He was so determined to do that. He had a great part, why did he need another one?”
And while some of the questions were a little tricky, the game ended on a sweet spot, with everyone accurately completing the lyric: “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”