The Big Way Hamilton Helped Lin-Manuel Miranda Land Mary Poppins Returns

Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack the Lamplighter on his bicycle in Mary Poppins Returns
(Image credit: (Walt Disney Pictures))

A few years ago, everyone couldn't stop buzzing about the hit rap musical Hamilton about one of America's Founding Fathers -- and honestly has much changed since? Fans are still struggling to get Hamilton tickets and Lin-Manuel Miranda popularity has only soared higher.

The Hamilton creator's life has certainly turned around thanks to his original musical, but it also was one the key reasons he nabbed the role of Jack the Lamplighter in Mary Poppins Returns. Here's how Lin-Manuel Miranda was picked to be in the Disney musical, according to director Rob Marshall:

Well, that actually just happened organically. It wasn't even fully intentional. It was actually John DeLuca's idea. He said, 'What about Lin-Manuel?' I thought, 'Oh, what a great idea!' I mean, it was the height of the Hamilton craze. I sat with him in between shows. As soon as you sit with Lin, there's such an infectiousness about his enthusiasm and his very pure childlike spirit. It's very authentic, and I thought, 'Well, there's Jack.' It's like he's that cohort of Mary's who sees light in the darkness, and lights up London, figuratively and literally.

There ya go, just create a history-making blockbuster musical and you're set! Back in 2015, the musical-theater-loving community couldn't get Hamilton out of their heads. So when Rob Marshall and John DeLuca, who was producer, choreographer and screen story writer along with Marshall and screenwriter David Magee on Mary Poppins Returns were looking for a Jack, Lin-Manuel Miranda was a no-brainer.

Looks like Lin-Manuel Miranda was on the filmmakers' minds right as they were trying to figure out casting. Once they met with him, it sealed the deal as he fit the bill for the sunshine-y character they were looking for in Mary Poppins Returns' Jack.

In his interview with Deadline, Rob Marshall also said that he was following Hamilton from the beginning, before it made its debut on Broadway. While Lin-Manuel Miranda was getting a lot of credit at the time for creating the musical, Marshall saw it for himself, also saw his skill as a performer.

Rob Marshall thinks part of why Mary Poppins Returns was an attractive project for Miranda was that it allowed him to hone in on just being an actor, and not also being involved in writing the project. His past projects like Moana and In the Heights have seen him primarily writing before lending his acting and singing chops.

Lin-Manuel Miranda took his shot at being a part of the Mary Poppins sequel alongside Emily Blunt, and it certainly has paid off. The movie has been positively received by critics and audiences alike for its blend of nostalgia, new material and delightful message.

You can still catch Mary Poppins Returns in theaters and check out what's in store this year with our 2019 movie release schedule.

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.