There exist few tasks in Hollywood more difficult than recasting an iconic role. This becomes even harder when the first person to take on a given role nailed it perfectly the first time around. It's been over 50 years since we last saw beloved British nanny, Mary Poppins, and the role will soon be handed from Julie Andrews to Emily Blunt -- who clearly has big shoes to fill. There's only one question: how does Andrews feel about bequeathing such an important role to a new generation? As it turns out, she's perfectly fine with it. Blunt explained:
Rob said he was in the Hamptons, and he saw [Andrews], and he said, 'It's top secret, but Emily Blunt's playing Mary Poppins... And she went, 'Oh, wonderful!' I felt like I wanted to cry. It was lovely to get her stamp of approval. That took the edge off it, for sure.
While speaking with EW, Emily Blunt revealed that Mary Poppins Returns' director, Rob Marshall, recently had a chance to talk to Julie Andrews about Blunt taking over the iconic role. Apparently -- like the rest of us -- Julie Andrews is a fan of Emily Blunt's body of work, and she's completely on board with the idea. The reveal of Andrews' approval reportedly served as a huge relief to Blunt, who felt much more confident in the role knowing that the original Mary Poppins supported the casting decision. After all, even the most confident and accomplished actors can still feel the pressure in situations such as this.
Recasting has become an incredibly common practice in Hollywood these days, as we live in an era defined by long-running franchises. Some characters, like Batman, get recast all of the time, and as such it has become something that we as members of the audience expect. However, certain other characters -- like Indiana Jones -- feel intrinsically linked to the performer that takes on the role. Up until recently, we very much felt that way about Julie Andrews and her portrayal of Mary Poppins, but it looks like Andrews herself has no problem with Emily Blunt filling her shoes.
That being said, the act of recasting Andrews is further helped by the fact that Mary Poppins Returns will look more to the source material than the 1964 film for inspiration. The original incarnation of the character differs from Julie Andrews' version in that Mary Poppins herself is somewhat "meaner," and as such Emily Blunt cannot completely emulate Andrews' prim and proper nanny in the evolution of the role. As a result of this, Blunt will have quite a bit more creative freedom than she would if Rob Marshall and the team behind Mary Poppins Returns had decided to do a straight remake of the original. It's a small detail, but it helps take this character in a new direction.
We will just have to wait and see what Emily Blunt brings to the role of the iconic British Nanny. Mary Poppins Returns is currently slated to hit theaters on Christmas Day 2018. Stay tuned for more details!