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Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack

With the trend of nostalgia proving endlessly popular and profitable, there have been some interesting projects green-lit by major studios. Disney has been approaching this trend largely through live-action remakes of their classic animated blockbusters like Beauty and The Beast or The Lion King. The House of Mouse is taking a more traditional sequel approach with Mary Poppins Returns, picking up the story from the beloved 1964 original.

Mary Poppins Returns is set decades after the first movie, with Jane and Michael Banks being full grown adults, and the latter having three kids of his own. Joining the franchise is lamplighter Jack, played by Hamilton writer/star Lin-Manuel Miranda. I recently spoke to Miranda about his role in Mary Poppins Returns, where he discussed the odd jobs and skills he picked up while visiting Cherry Tree Lane. When talking about his old bicycle in the movie, he told me:

Her name is Girdie. Hopefully it looks effortless, because that's the goal. But it's an old bike with a 20 pound ladder on one side. But what's fun is when you act in a movie, you kind of become an expert in these arcane things. Because you have to. I know how to climb Big Ben now. I know how to ride an old lamplighter bicycle. The fun, weird things you pick up are the most fun things on the journey.

Despite the logistical problems that riding an old bicycle on cobblestone streets gave Lin-Manuel Miranda, he wouldn't like it any other way. Because while Mary Poppins Returns may have wrapped and been handed over to the editing process, the skills Miranda accrued will stay with him for years.

Lin-Manuel Miranda's comments make a great deal of sense, as Mary Poppins Returns has the writer/actor utilizing a variety of skills throughout the course of the movie. Much like Dick Van Dyke's Bert, Jack is a multitalented character of the cockney persuasion. He's obviously a lamplighter first, and can often be seen applying his trade throughout the course of the upcoming sequel. But that's not all Miranda had to pick up throughout the course of the film.

Much like its predecessor, Mary Poppins Returns has plenty of magical moments that no doubt took clever moviemaking in order to bring to reality. The song and dance number "Trip A Light Light Fantastic" contains live fire for both the lamplighters and Banks children, and Lin-Manuel Miranda also teased having to climb London's Big Ben. Add in dancing alongside animated penguins, and the cast of Mary Poppins Returns clearly had their hands full during filming.

You can check out my conversation with Lin-Manuel Miranda below.

Early reception for the movie is overwhelmingly positive, so it should be fascinating to see how Mary Poppins Returns does at the box office, and with the actual moviegoing audience themselves. Emily Blunt and the cast have big shoes to fill, so the pressure is on.

Mary Poppins Returns will arrive in theaters on December 20th, 2018. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.

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