Mary Poppins Returns is positively brimming with talent. Emily Blunt takes on the titular role that Julie Andrews once played, while Lin-Manuel Miranda, Meryl Streep, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Colin Firth, Julie Waters and Dick Van Dyke round out the ensemble. Now, they’ll be joined by another tremendous screen presence, as Angela Lansbury enters the newest live-action Disney sequel.
Five-time Tony winner Lansbury will play the Balloon Lady, who was originally featured in P.L. Travers’ novel. While it’s presumably a minor role, it definitely won’t be Lansbury’s introduction to Disney. She previously starred in Bedknobs and Broomsticks and also gave her voice to Mrs. Potts in the original 1992 Beauty and the Beast. She won’t reprise the role in the live-action adaptation, however. Those duties now belong to Emma Thompson. Oddly enough, Thompson played Travers in Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks. The studio likes to keep people in the family, it seems.
Mary Poppins Returns will directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago, Into the Woods) and features an original score and new songs from Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray). Trying to recapture the magic of the original 1964 film will be difficult, there’s no doubt about that, but that hasn’t stopped the House of Mouse before. The sequel-friendly studio is game to make this one a lavish celebration and hopefully they’ll give us something that’s just as grand and lovely as the first one. Fingers crossed, eh?
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