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Ben Whishaw is no stranger to family films, what with his role as the titular bear in Paddington managing to be a surprise hit at last year's box office. However, if Whishaw's latest prospect comes through, he'll have another legendary franchise of British children's literature under his belt. Brace yourselves, as Michael Banks is all grown up, and he might end up looking a lot like Ben Whishaw.
Variety reported Whishaw as in talks to take the role of one of the two children Mary Poppins helped nurture as children. The events of Mary Poppins Returns would see Mary returning to Michael, and his sister Jane, "following a personal loss." One could presume that the nature of that loss is the death of their father, but whatever occasion, Mary will be bringing some new characters into the mix, including her cousin, Topsy Poppins, and a lamplighter named Jack. Those roles are played by Meryl Streep and Lin-Manuel Miranda, respectively. Mary Poppins herself is, of course, being played by Emily Blunt.
Casting Whishaw would certainly be a casting coup, as the young actor has been making quite a name for himself over the past couple of years. In addition to his role in Paddington, which should start production on its sequel this fall, he is also the most recent incarnation of Q in the James Bond series. So Ben Whishaw is no stranger to well-respected ensemble casts, nor is he a fish out of water when it comes to inhabiting a classic character with an extensive background.
However, this film is a particularly pressured project, as it does happen to be the follow up to one of the most iconic family films of the 20th century. With that pressure in play, high expectations will be set for Ben Whishaw, as well as his cast members. These tensions may ease if further rumors involving a possible cameo by Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke turn out to be true. With the original pair of magical merrymakers helping shepherd the next generation through their bold endeavor to make Mary Poppins Returns as memorable and as fun as the original Mary Poppins was.
Mary Poppins Returns hopes to be practically perfect in every way, when it hits theaters on December 25, 2018.