By The Nation
The loving nanny will bring her magic and exciting adventures to Thai theatres on Tuesday (December 25).
The new sequel to the musical fantasy film based on PL Travers’ globally popular series of children books, “Mary Poppins Returns” received four nominations at the Golden Globe Awards, namely for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, and Best Original Score. Acclaimed director Rob Marshall, who directed “Chicago” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” and is currently working on Disney’s live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid”, was at the helm of the new production to bring Mary Poppins back to life on the silver screen.
Starring veteran actress Emily Blunt (“The Girl on the Train” and “Into the Woods”) as Mary Poppins, the new instalment has everything set for the magical nanny to reoccupy her space in people’s hearts again after sending Julie Andrews to stardom and won her Academy and Golden Globe Awards for her leading role as the eponymous character in the original 1964 film.
Emily Blunt grew up watching the original Mary Poppins. As a child, she found Mary Poppins to be a superhero. “Something struck me about [Mary Poppins] coming in, so capable and so magical, and just sweeping it all up and making it right. I think the film is one of those films that’s seared into people’s memories as an emblem of their nostalgia in many ways,” Blunt suggested, remembering her childhood fondness of the original film.
Stepping into a role as iconic as Mary Poppins is exciting, but it does not come without nerves. Blunt elaborated on how she went about diving into the role in Mary Poppins Returns: “I just try to approach her as I would with any other character and not be caught up in the white noise of, ‘Oh my god, you’re Mary Poppins!’ I think that’s been my main focus—to approach her calmly how I would play her with what I’m given on the page.”
Although singing and dancing were not something that came naturally to Blunt, director Rob Marshall helped her gain confidence. “He just has this way of making you feel like you can do anything. You do feel in such safe hands with him, and in the same way he approaches me as an actor, he approaches me as a dancer now. He just wants it to feel like a confident, exciting experience,” Blunt says of her convincing, characterful portrayal of Mary Poppins.
In addition to Blunt, “Mary Poppins Returns” features Hollywood’s A-list cast including Academy Award winners Meryl Streep and Colin Firth, as well as actor and songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda who co-wrote the songs for Disney animated film Moana and composed the music and lyrics for critically acclaimed Broadway musical “Hamilton”.
Throughout this year, the Walt Disney studio has achieved record high grossing of more than Bt900 million from nine titles released since the beginning of the year with all film franchises of the studio combined. To commemorate Marvel Studios’ 10th anniversary, the “Year of Marvel” celebration started off with the release of “Black Panther” followed by “Avengers: Infinity War” that surged to top four of the world’s highest-grossing films of all time with worldwide box-office gross of over US$2 billion (Bt35 billion) and enthroned itself as the highest-grossing Hollywood movie of all time in Thailand.
Other Thai releases from Marvel Studios were “Ant-Man and the Wasp”. Lucasfilm delighted Star Wars fans with “Solo: A Star Wars Story”, a spin-off film centring on Star Wars character Han Solo and his adventure before coming across Chewbacca and Millennium Falcon. Disney Pixar brought back the popular family of superheroes in “Incredibles 2”, an animated sequel nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Golden Globe Awards. Disney Animation Studios continues to see the box office momentum strong in “Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2” after grossing more than Bt50 million on its opening weekend.