Lin-Manuel Miranda is a hot commodity these days. After writing and starring in the smash Broadway hit Hamilton, Miranda has become attached to a number of new projects. One of the most anticipated, though, is Disney’s upcoming sequel to Mary Poppins.
Mary Poppins Returns
Titled Mary Poppins Returns, the new film is scheduled for release on December 25, 2018. Actress Emily Blunt will take over the role of Mary Poppins. Miranda will play Jack, a street lamplighter. It will take place in Depression-era London, 20 years after the first film.
Director Rob Marshall will helm the Mary Poppins sequel. Marshall is no stranger to big screen musicals. He directed the 1999 television remake of Annie and 2014’s Broadway adaptation, Into the Woods. Marshall is best known, though, as the director of 2002’s Chicago, which won Best Picture at the Academy Awards that year.
“When Mary’s around, cool sh– happens.”
In a new interview with Variety, Miranda talked about his role and honoring the original film’s legacy:
“It’s straight up a sequel. Michael and Jane Banks have grown up, and they find themselves in their own spot, and Mary Poppins comes back to take care of Michael’s kids. I play a lamplighter named Jack who sort of grew up apprenticing to Bert. So I know if Mary Poppins shows up, it’s gonna get awesome. I perform that function in the movie, of saying: ‘Y’all don’t know about Mary Poppins. When Mary’s around, cool sh– happens.'”
From Chimney Sweep to Lamplighter
Since he’s essentially taking on the Bert role in the sequel, Variety asked if he’d gotten any advice from the original star:
“I haven’t met Dick Van Dyke. I’d love to meet him. I cried like everyone else did when he showed up on ‘The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60’ and started stepping in time. Just horizontal tears out of my face.”
The Lasting Impact of Mary Poppins
Miranda also talked about the emotional impact of Mary Poppins:
“I showed my son the film, and my son is not even 2 years old. When the music started my son went — ” (Miranda’s face lit up and he let out a gasp of wonder.) “Which I’ve never seen him do. He just sat rapt. For someone who’s 20 months old, that doesn’t happen. I’m really excited I get to be part of that legacy. That movie is everyone’s childhood. Mine too. Although I never got through ‘Tuppence’ [the song ‘Feed the Birds’], because that lady made me so sad that I would burst into tears. It took me a long time to actually see the end of the movie.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda + Disney = Dream Team
It looks like Miranda will be busy with Disney for several years to come. He co-wrote the songs for the upcoming animated film, Moana. In addition, he’ll team with legendary composer Alan Menken for a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.
Miranda also talked about how the Disney Renaissance period influenced his life and career:
“My God, those Disney musicals. I feel really lucky that I was a kid when they went on that run of animated musicals, starting with ‘The Little Mermaid.’ Not just animated movies, animated musicals. Howard Ashman [the late writer-lyricist of ‘Mermaid,’ ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Aladdin’] figured out, ‘Oh my God, I can make even better musicals under this system than I can Off Broadway.’
I have never been more transported in my life than when ‘Under the Sea’ first started when I was nine years old. I said, ‘I cannot believe what is happening to me,’ and that feeling of vertigo in a movie theater. Something I’ve been chasing ever since. To be part of that legacy, and then ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘Aladdin’ and ‘The Lion King,’ it was just this incredible run that happened when I was ages 9 to 14. It’s very formative to me. I’m thrilled to be a part of that tradition.”
What do you think? Are you excited to see a follow-up to Mary Poppins?