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Emily Blunt reveals dark truth about Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns

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Kayleigh Dray
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As fans of the original 1964 film will remember, Mary Poppins was practically perfect in every way.

Played to perfection by Julie Andrews, she sailed gracefully onto the silver screen by means of a flying umbrella – and lovingly helped Jane and Michael Banks to reconnect with their parents.

Now, over 50 years later, the magical nanny is set to return, thanks to Disney’s upcoming sequel, aptly titled Mary Poppins Returns.

As we already know, Emily Blunt will be taking over the iconic titular roleThe Devil Wears Prada actress will be joined by Hamilton creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is set to play Jack, a lamplighter.

However, in a new interview, Blunt has explained that fans of the original film may get a shock when they head to cinemas to watch the much-anticipated sequel.

“We’re delving into the books a lot more,” she explained to Entertainment Weekly, “which is a different version of the character, I’ll say that much.”

She isn’t wrong; P. L. Travers, the author of the original book series, famously hated the film for diluting the harsher aspects of Mary Poppins’ character.

On paper, Poppins was stern, vain, cross, and often frightening; she constantly snapped at the children, threatened them, and, while she often used her magic to create wonder, she also employed it as an unusual form of discipline over the Banks children.

In one particularly memorable scene from the books, she transports one of her wards into the picture on a china bowl – and told them that they would never be able to escape.

Blunt, addressing that her version of Poppins will be far truer to the books than the 1964 Disney film, said: “She’s a little meaner, yes.”

Emily Blunt

Emily Blunt has hinted at a far darker version of Mary Poppins than fans of the Disney film will remember...

Despite this, Andrews – who played the sweet, singing Poppins that Disney fans know and love – has offered her support to Blunt in reprising the role.

“Rob [Marshall, the director] said he was in the Hamptons, and he saw [Andrews], and he said, ‘It’s top secret, but Emily Blunt’s playing Mary Poppins,’” recalled Blunt. “And she went, ‘Oh, wonderful!’”

“I felt like I wanted to cry,” she added. “It was lovely to get her stamp of approval. That took the edge off it, for sure.”

Mary Poppins

"She will be a little meaner, yes..."

Mary Poppins Returns is set 20 years after the events of the first film, in the depths of Depression-era London.

The story will follow that of an adult Jane and Michael Banks, along with Michael’s three children, as they struggle to come to terms with a recent tragedy (which will reportedly revolve around a death in the family).

Can the arrival of their seemingly ageless nanny, Mary Poppins, help them to overcome their grief?

Mary Poppins Returns will hit cinemas on December 25 2018 in the US, with a UK release date yet to be confirmed.

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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