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For many, there's nothing quite as nostalgic and close to our hearts as Mary Poppins, the 1964 Disney classic starring Julie Andrews. Now there's another practically perfect nanny out in theaters, played by Emily Blunt, but the filmmakers couldn't help but bring back some faces from the original back to Cherry Tree Lane. We've already known about Dick Van Dyke's scene in Mary Poppins Returns as Mr. Dawes Jr. since the film's trailer showed him tapping away on a table looking identical to the other, older character he played in addition to Bert back in his 30s. But it turns out that the original Jane Banks from Mary Poppins, played by Karen Dotrice, also shows up in Mary Poppins Returns for a brief moment.
During a press conference I attended for the film, Mary Poppins Returns actress Emily Mortimer, who plays all-grown-up Jane Banks in the new film, talked about the day Karen Dotrice joined the new cast on set. In her words:
It was extraordinary. She's such a great, cool lady, so funny, wicked sense of humor, really down to Earth and she came to do the cameo in this little moment when Ben is emerging from the house with his briefcase late and he bumps into her. We all walked onto the set for the first time with her and she walked onto Cherry Tree Lane for the first time in 54 years since the first movie was made and she just melted, I mean she just sort of crumbled and that was so moving being there with her while that happened.
Mary Poppins may have been a part of many of our childhoods, but for Karen Dotrice, it literally was a place of her childhood, and to step onto the recreation of Cherry Tree Lane for the cameo seems like it was quite the emotional day for her.
Today, Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted out a picture of himself and Karen Dotrice in their Mary Poppins Returns-wear. Take a look:
The former child star doesn't have quite as memorable moment as you'll see with Dick Van Dyke's Mr. Dawes in Mary Poppins Returns. It's more of a blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene in the middle of the film. If you haven't seen the film yet, when Ben Whishaw's grown-up Michael Banks walks down Cherry Tree Lane hurriedly with his briefcase as Jane Banks and Lin-Manuel Miranda's Jack are outside as well, look for her!
Mary Poppins was released when Karen Dotrice was nine years old. It was her second appearance as an actress, her debut being in Disney's The Three Lives of Thomasina in 1963. As an adult, Dotrice became a television actress on a few British series. She hasn't appeared on screen since 2005, when she guest starred on Young Blades.
Mary Poppins Returns is a sequel to the iconic Disney musical, made by filmmakers who were truly in love with the original and it shows (check out my review for more praise on the sequel). The film is expected to make waves at the box office this weekend, with an expected $70 million opening. Julie Andrews may not be a part of Mary Poppins Returns but her voice can be heard in the film's competitor this week, Aquaman, as the mythic Karathen.