Lin-Manuel Miranda Fires Back At Critics Over Mary Poppins Returns Rapping

Lin-Manuel Miranda in Mary Poppins Returns
(Image credit: (Walt Disney Pictures))

Lin-Manuel Miranda is best known for his esteemed Broadway musical hit, Hamilton, which has the American founding father rapping about his incredible though tragic life. So, when he was cast as the leading man next to Emily Blunt's Mary Poppins in the upcoming sequel, the potential addition of Miranda's hip-hop influence raised concerns in some who want to see the musical stick to its roots.

At a press conference for Mary Poppins Returns in Beverly Hills that I attended yesterday, Lin-Manuel Miranda addressed the fuss about him bringing rap to the Disney musical, with a witty reminder about how the original 1964 film had another character spitting rhymes. Here's what he said:

Everyone that was like 'wow there's rapping in Mary Poppins Returns' forgets that Bert had a 30-second rap about all the women he dated before Mary Poppins, you've all forgotten it. The Jolly Holiday is one big flirt between Mary and Bert.

It's hard to argue about the original movie, and Lin-Manuel Miranda is absolutely right. Dick Van Dyke does rap in a scene in Mary Poppins and it's pretty amazing. During the iconic live-action/animation hybrid sequence, Mary Poppins and Bert take a lovely stroll in the village and sing "Jolly Holiday", sitting down with the cute penguins for a bite. Bert then lists several women's names in the rap segment (much to Mary's frustration), before he performs that cute dance with the penguins to woo her.

For a refresher, Lin-Manuel Miranda even tweeted the scene to demonstrate his point that rapping in Mary Poppins isn't a new idea. Take a look:

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While the actor will be delivering some of his signature style to Mary Poppins Returns, audiences shouldn't expect a downright Hamilton-esque performance from Lin-Manuel Miranda, just because he's in the movie. The film marks his first leading role in a film, and it's also a project he doesn't have writing credits on. Miranda has much to offer that he has yet to show audiences yet, and seeing a bit of his rapping in the movie would likely be a treat to his fans.

For Mary Poppins Returns, the music has been written and composed by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman who have written music for the ABC musical television show Smash, and recent Broadway musicals for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Hairspray. The pair follow one of the most beloved team of composers behind Disney films, the Sherman Brothers, who wrote the music for 1964's Mary Poppins. The film went on to win Best Original Song at the Oscars for "Chim Chim Cher-ee" along with for Best Score.

Ahead of the release of Mary Poppins Returns, two tracks have already been released from the movie, one of which featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda's vocals -- and in his own cockney accent too. "Trip a Little Light Fantastic" primarily shows off his vocals leaving the mystery of his rap in the sequel yet to be seen. The highly-anticipated sequel to Mary Poppins comes to theaters on December 19.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.