We were all probably a little surprised when we learned Mary Poppins was getting a sequel, but nobody had a better reaction than Dick Van Dyke. One of the stars of the original film says he was thrilled to learn that Mary Poppins Returns was being produced, but, ultimately, there was one important question that he needed to ask. Was there a part for him? Recently, Mary Poppins Returns co-star Lin-Manuel Miranda asked Van Dyke what he thought when he heard about the film, and the response was classic...
Well, I got excited, of course. My first question was 'Can I be in it?'
The answer was probably something along the lines of "we thought you'd never ask." When Dick Van Dyke asks if he can be in Mary Poppins Returns, the correct response is to just say yes and figure the rest out later.
Luckily, the new movie has the perfect role for Dick Van Dyke. So much so that it was quite likely that if he hadn't asked to be in the movie first, he was eventually going to be asked to return anyway. The actor had two roles in the original Mary Poppins as he played bank chairman Mr. Dawes Sr. beneath makeup and a fake beard in addition to the more famous role of Burt the chimneysweep. In the sequel, he'll play Mr. Dawes Jr., the son of the bank chairman, who has not gotten on in years himself.
The role that's the equivalent to Burt will be handled by a new character played by Lin-Manuel Miranda. With an only slightly less over the top accent.
There's a clear family resemblance between the Dawes father and son, which makes sense, though the make-up work that was necessary to make Dick Van Dyke look like his previous character had a certain irony to it, considering the number of years that have passed since the first film. As Dick Van Dyke explained on ABC News.
They made me a gorgeous head of hair and a beard and everything. I said, 'do you know you're making up a 91-year-old man to look like a 91-year-old man?'"
Dick Van Dyke was 91 when production on Mary Poppins Returns was underway but he'll be 93 by the time it comes out, with his birthday in mid-December. As hilarious as it may have been to have to put Van Dyke in makeup to play his role, the moment is sure to be one of the highlights of Mary Poppins Returns for all of the fans of the original. In that film, it was difficult to tell that Van Dyke was playing Mr. Dawes. It's a bit more obvious now.
The other reason that Dick Van Dyke's appearance will likely be memorable is that his scene is apparently quite emotional. People, including the director, were reportedly crying on the set following the performance of a speech that Van Dyke gives. Bring your tissues when you see Mary Poppins Returns this Christmas.