Emily Blunt is in talks to play Mary Poppins in Disney’s forthcoming sequel to the Oscar-winning children’s film about a magical nanny in Edwardian London, according to Variety.
Rob Marshall, who worked with Blunt on the recent film version of the Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods, is in charge of the follow-up. The director has said the sequel, which is set 20 years after the original in Depression-era London, will borrow from previously unadapted books about Poppins by PL Travers, the creator of the character.
It is understood that Blunt has always been the producers’ top choice for the role, though her involvement is still not set in stone. It depends on scheduling, as the English actor is expecting her second child.
The original Mary Poppins took more than $100 million worldwide and won five Oscars, including the best actress prize for Julie Andrews in the title role. It boasted a pioneering mixture of live action and animation, while songs including A Spoonful of Sugar and Chim Chim Cher-ee (which won an Academy award for best song) made it an enduring children’s classic.
The songs in the new version will be written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who won a Tony award for Hairspray. Marshall, also the director of musical films Chicago and Nine, told Vulture in October that it represented an “extension” of the original, rather than a remake.
“It is not a new Mary Poppins,” he said. “PL Travers wrote eight books all together. They worked from the first book, and we are working from the other books, not touching the iconic brilliance of Mary Poppins.”