Movies

Emily Blunt takes over from Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins Returns - and she's practically perfect in every way!

The actress shines in her latest role

By TV Week team

Trying to make an iconic character your own is no small task – especially if she happens to be Mary Poppins.

Julie Andrews starred in the 1964 hit film – and the songs, the animation and governess Mary Poppins descending from the clouds became fixed in the memory of a generation.

So when, more than half a century later, a sequel was announced, there were doubts.

But when TV WEEK learnt British actress Emily Blunt would be assuming umbrella duties in Mary Poppins Returns, the news was as sweet as a spoonful of sugar!

We asked the 35-year-old about being the new Mary Poppins.

TV WEEK: How did it feel to win the role?

Emily Blunt: Mary Poppins has been the greatest gift I've been given. Can you imagine my girls [Hazel, four, and two-year-old Violet] being able to say that their mum is Mary Poppins? I'm just so thrilled!

Emily Blunt as the new Mary Poppins.
Emily Blunt as the new Mary Poppins.

What are your memories of the original film?

I'd seen Mary Poppins as a child and have beautiful memories of it. But during my preparations, I purposely didn't watch it, because I didn't want to be swayed by Julie Andrews' portrayal. I knew it would be impossible to match what she did. My only choice was to create my own version of the character.

This is Mary Poppins Returns, so it's not a reboot or reimagining.

Exactly. So Michael Banks, all grown up, still works in the same bank his father did and still lives in the same house with his three children –Annabel, Georgie and John – and their maid, Ellen. And Mary Poppins magically returns to look after the Banks family.

The Banks Children take a wild ride with Jack.
The Banks Children take a wild ride with Jack.

What was it like on the set?

When I saw Cherry Tree Lane for the first time, it was overwhelming. However incredible the first film is, I hope this one will be allowed to stand on its own. It's magical, but so grounded tool. There's a beautiful story running through it.

How has Mary changed in your hands?

I kind of want people to discover that for themselves...

Emily gets to sing and dance in *Mary Poppins Returns*.
Emily gets to sing and dance in Mary Poppins Returns.

How much has motherhood changed your approach to work?

It changes your world completely. You become a different person because you look at your choices from a very different perspective.

Whenever I'm considering a project, I always think of how it's going to affect the lives of my daughters. Now, I only choose films I want to do.

While you and your husband [John Krasinski, star of The Office and Jack Ryan and an acclaimed writer and director] have worked together before, it must be tough balancing two major Hollywood careers.

We've always been able to discuss everything together. It's also an advantage having someone in your life who understands the things you go through in our profession.

We're very supportive of each other and know we always have each other to rely on.

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