Emily Blunt flew into theaters exactly a week ago as the iconic title character in Mary Poppins Returns, a somewhat belated sequel to 1964’s family classic Mary Poppins. But the actress has admitted in a new interview that she originally felt “trepidation” about taking on the role made famous by Dame Julie Andrews.
“She had such a big imprint on my life and on everyone’s lives – people hold this character so close to their hearts,” Blunt is quoted as saying by The Straits Times. “No one wants to see me do a sort of cheap impersonation of Julie Andrews because no one is Julie Andrews. She should be preserved and treasured in her own way for what she did.”
Continuing, Blunt revealed that she looked to the original Mary Poppins novels by P.L. Travers for inspiration when creating her take on the beloved singing Nanny.
“I found the books to be enormously helpful. She leapt off the page at me just in how complicated she is, how unknowable she is in this wonderful way – that duality of the character in that she is stern and incredibly rude and vain, and yet there is this humanity,” Blunt explained. “And she has to have such a childlike wonder in her in order to want to infuse these children’s lives with it. There must be a generosity of spirit to want to fix and heal in the way that she does.”
Blunt also discussed her Mary Poppins Returns role during a recent appearance on The Graham Norton Show, revealing that it left quite an impression on her two young daughters. Watch that interview below.
So far, it seems as though Blunt’s Mary Poppins research is really paying off. The actress has already earned Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for her performance in the musical sequel. If she goes on to receive an Oscar nomination too, she will match Andrews, who was Oscar-nominated for her performance in the original film.
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