UPDATE: Although Dick Van Dyke is appearing in Mary Poppins Returns, it won’t be as lovable chimney sweep Bert.
Entertainment Weekly just posted their set visit piece featuring the revelation, yet they didn’t know who – or what – Van Dyke would be playing instead.
EW also dropped a bunch of new photos, and described the film’s synopsis as follows…
Mary Poppins Returns, directed by Rob Marshall (Into the Woods), picks up 25 years after the events of the first film, fast-forwarding to London’s mid-1930s economic slump, the actual time period of Travers’ books. Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane has become the warm, loving home that banker and artist Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) shares with his wife and three children. But after the sudden death of Michael’s wife, the Banks family is shattered — even enthusiastic aunt Jane (Emily Mortimer), now a fervent union organizer, and long-time housemaid Ellen (Julie Walters) can’t help lift spirits — and so in time, the once-blossoming home is on the verge of foreclosure.
Cue the arrival of prim and peculiar Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt), who leads Michael’s wayward children (and Jane and Michael themselves) on a series of unbelievable adventures — to the top of Big Ben, the bottom of the ocean, into magical encounters with animated dancing penguins and upside-down cousins (hey, Meryl Streep!). If anyone can help this family find the light they’ve lost, it’s Mary Poppins.
Mary Poppins Returns is slated for release in December 2018. It hasn’t yet been confirmed whether Dick Van Dyke will be reprising his iconic role as chimney sweep Bert or resurrecting his memorable Cockney accent.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Van Dyke said, “It’s a great cast – Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury and that guy [Lin-Manuel Miranda] from Hamilton.”
Van Dyke spoke of meeting with Walt Disney ahead of his casting in the original Mary Poppins and said that there was “a spirit” about the production from the very beginning. Walt Disney showed him storyboards of all the scenes which had been displayed on the walls, and the Sherman brothers, who wrote the score, played him the music from the film. He said, “I walked out of there on the air. I knew. We just knew something special was happening.”
He told Entertainment Tonight that he would be filming in London this coming spring and that the film’s creators were keen for him to take on the role of the son of Mr. Dawes, the elderly banker he played alongside Bert in the original. He also revealed that there would be “a little song and dance number”.
Coming more than 50 years after the original, the film will be set 20 or so years after the events of the 1964 film in Depression-era London. It will focus on Jane and Michael Banks who are now all grown up, with Michael having kids of his own. Mary Poppins, their childhood nanny, re-enters their lives when the family suffers a tragedy. In classic Mary Poppins style, she helps them through.
Hot new Hollywood property Lin-Manuel Miranda will play a new character, Jack the lamplighter, who turns up in tow with Mary Poppins, and Meryl Streep will play a character named Topsy, a cousin of Mary Poppins. Emily Blunt will pick up the title role, while Emily Mortimer is lined up to play Jane. Ben Whishaw will play Michael.
Angela Lansbury makes an exciting addition to the cast in an as-yet-unannounced role. Lansbury was originally considered by Walt Disney for the role of Mary Poppins in the original. Colin Firth will also feature.
Despite speculation, there’s been no confirmation yet as to whether Julie Andrews will make an appearance but fans would love to see her return in a cameo role.