The sequel to the classic Mary Poppins is beginning to take shape over at Disney. The studio has wanted Emily Blunt to take over the title role from the beginning and is currently in negotiations to make exactly that happen. There are plenty of characters to cast, however, and now it seems that Disney is looking at the hottest show on Broadway to find Blunt’s co-star. The studio is apparently in talks with Hamilton creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda to join the movie.
According to Variety, Lin-Manuel Miranda is Disney’s choice to play the role of Jack, a lamplighter, who sounds to be very similar to the role of Bert, played by Dick Van Dyke in the original Mary Poppins. While fans of the classic film, myself among them, may be sad to see the character of Bert apparently being let go, he was entirely a creation of the original film to begin with, so nothing of consequence to the source material is being lost.
Lin-Manuel Miranda already has a strong working relationship with Disney. He worked with J.J. Abrams on music for the cantina scene in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and was also part of the team that wrote music for Disney’s upcoming animated musical Moana. However, Miranda didn’t just write the music for Broadway's megahit Hamilton, he’s also the show’s star and an accomplished performer so it makes sense that Disney would want to utilize these talents as well. Miranda has done his share of acting for the screen but a Mary Poppins sequel would be his biggest film role to date by quite a stretch.
It’s been a few months since the news first broke that Disney was interested in making sequels to Mary Poppins based on the follow-up novels that P.L. Travers had written. From day one the world was that the studio was eyeing Emily Blunt for the lead role, and last week we heard that the actress is currently in talks to make that happen. The film is set to take place 20 years after the original film, in depression-era London.
While you may have a problem with the idea of making sequels to Marry Poppins we have to say that since we can’t stop it from happening, Disney certainly seems focused on making them good. Emily Blunt feels like the right choice to take over from Julie Andrews and Lin-Manuel Miranda is the hottest thing on Broadway for a reason, he’s that good. The only real question is, can he dance with penguins?
Throw Into the Woods and Chicago director Rob Marshall and you certainly have some strong building blocks with which to make a movie. Now we need a solid script and memorable songs. Richard Sherman is still alive people, somebody get him on this now.