“This is Emily’s version of her.”
Emily Blunt has revealed why Julie Andrews turned down a cameo in Mary Poppins Returns.
The British actress – who takes over from Julie in the highly-anticipated sequel – told Variety: “She [Andrews] was very hands-off with the whole thing. There was discussion about, you know, that maybe she would come and do a bit in the movie and she was so generous actually.”
Apparently, Julie – who won the Academy Award for Best Actress back in 1964 for the iconic role – didn’t want to distract the audience with her appearance, and instead wanted the focus to be on Emily’s rendition.
“She said to Rob [Marshall, the director], ‘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?'”
However, producer Marc Platt explained that Julie wasn’t supposed to appear at all.
“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,” he admitted. “And it’s Emily’s turn.”
He added: “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.”
Set 20 years after the original, Mary Poppins Returns follows the titular character in Depression-era London, where her gifted Nanny skills are yet again required by an older Jane (Emily Mortimer) and Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw).
The film also stars Lin-Manuel Miranda, Meryl Streep, Pixie Davies, Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Angela Lansbury, David Warner, Jeremy Swift and Dick Van Dyke – who starred in the original as Bert and Mr. Dawes Sr.
Director Rob Marshall – the vision behind the musicals Chicago and Into the Woods – said in a statement: “I am truly humbled and honored to be asked by Disney to bring P.L. Travers’ further adventures to the screen.
“The iconic original film means so much to me personally, and I look forward to creating an original movie musical that can bring Mary Poppins, and her message that childlike wonder can be found in even the most challenging of times, to a whole new generation.”
Mary Poppins Returns is due for release on 25 December, making it the longest gap between live-action film sequels in history.
Watch the trailer below.