Disclosure: This post is part of my all expense paid trip to Los Angeles, CA provided by Disney, in exchange for coverage. However, opinions are 100% mine.
Rob Marshall, Director of the Mary Poppins Returns sequel is an inspiration! At the Mary Poppins Returns, world premiere red carpet event in Los Angeles, we had the opportunity to interview Rob Marshall. Such a talented person who says he got involved in this film because he felt the world needed some Poppins magic. Chatting with him about our favorite nanny was a thrill. He reflects all that passion and love for this amazing film. He shared how it was to work with the actors and with the famous. Dick Van Dyke. Read all about it here and remember, Mary Poppins Returns releases in theaters with the actors
So how do you convince your Actors that everything is possible even when they’re scared of heights? When they don’t consider themselves Singers or Dancers in other films that you have
Rob: You know it’s sort of interesting when I work with Actors I really find they need to feel positive reinforcement you know and it’s such a simple thing to do. It’s like being a really good
parent you know. And I try and achieve that when we’re working you know.
For instance, I mean as an example Ben Whishaw, who plays Michael Banks, he’s never sung before you know. He was sort of nervous about how do you do that and I always feel that people can do so much. It’s just feeling that they can and knowing that they can. I like to protect them in rehearsals when– you know we had over 2 months of rehearsal. So it was during that time that you know you can fail and be bad you know and then learn to get better and, and not feel judged. That’s a really important thing. I like to protect Actors to make them feel they can do things and
try things. And everybody was so nervous on this film because you know we were following that extraordinary film that means so much to me and so much to so many people. I’m sure everybody in this room.
And so we knew we were you know doing the impossible, but I honestly felt like if we did it together from the right place with a great respect for the first film and found our own way at the same time then we would at least have done it in the right way you know and then you hope that it works you know.”
Could you please tell me how it was to work with Dick Van Dyke? Do you have any funny stories about Dick?
Rob: He’s su’um else. I mean there’s no one like him. I was so excited and nervous to even call him to ask him to do this you know because he’s a hero for me you know. I mean and that’s the Dick Van Dyke Show for me honestly. Chitty Chitty, Bang Bang you know all of it.
Bye Bye Birdie, all of it, so you know talking to him he just disarms you immediately. He’s so joyous and it’s just sort of who he is and he said yes so quickly. He wanted to be part– he was
excited to be part of it.
And when he came onto the set he honest to God grabbed my arm as we were walking on. He said, “I feel the same spirit here on this set that I did you know in the first film.” And I thought okay well that’s everything. That’s all I need to hear. That was everything for me to hear that from him.
Was it really him dancing or was that?
Rob: Oh yes, oh yes, all of it. In fact, I said to Lin and Emily I said, “If he falls off that desk you’re dead.” Well, I said you’re spotting him. I mean who else? There’s no one there. I said, “You are spotting him. So if he starts to wobble I want you to jump in.” Of course, he was perfectly
fine. In fact, he doesn’t even use Lin’s hand– do you see Lin? When you see it the next time, if you see it the next time every night, when you see Lin is literally standing there like okay
and he doesn’t use him, he just goes right up.
Let’s talk about the Magical bathtub scene!
Rob: Well it’s her first adventure you know. She arrives and so you have to look for something. You know the great thing about the PL Travers books is that even though there’s no narrative to any them they’re all just episodic.
It’s all about taking an ordinary everyday event and turning it into something magical. An adventure that’s fun and even you know cleaning up your room turns into an adventure in the first film right? So I was looking for something that kids hate and it’s taking a bath.
So I thought how can she turn– because they’re so cynical, the kids, you know except for the little one who loves her and believes right. But they’re all sort of judgmental and wary. And I thought you know the great thing about Mary Poppins she does these adventures, but denies them ever happening and kinda’ just does them without you know announcing them.
And all of a sudden that Dolphin comes up, she goes not yet, and things like that. You know what’s going on you know? But I thought that could open up to a beautiful world and there is an underwater adventure. It’s not from a bathtub, but there is an underwater adventure in one of the Poppins books. There are 8 of them. And so I thought well we could use sort of the feeling of the PL Travers underwater and then I came up with this idea of her seeing all the people from the neighborhood below the water you know as they’re moving through and trying to open the eyes of these kids that have grown up too fast, been forced to become adults too quickly.
‘Cause they’ve taken on the adult responsibilities because the Mothers gone. So I– you know it sort of found our way with that you know and then you work backward. You’re like and then they have to become a complete mess for them to have to take a bath in the middle of the day so then that’s the muddy park. You know, it all sort of feed together.
In Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS, an all-new original musical and sequel, Mary Poppins is back to help the next generation of the Banks family find the joy and wonder missing in their lives following a personal loss. Emily Blunt stars as the practically-perfect nanny with unique magical skills who can turn any ordinary task into an unforgettable, fantastic adventure and Lin-Manuel Miranda plays her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter who helps bring light—and life—to the streets of London.
MARY POPPINS RETURNS is directed by Rob Marshall. The screenplay is by David Magee and the screen story is by Magee & Rob Marshall & John DeLuca based upon the Mary Poppins Stories by PL Travers. The producers are John DeLuca, p.g.a., Rob Marshall, p.g.a. and Marc Platt, p.g.a. with Callum McDougall serving as executive producer. The music score is by Marc Shaiman and the film features all-new original songs with music by Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman. The film also stars Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks; Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks; Julie Walters as the Banks’ housekeeper Ellen; Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and introducing Joel Dawson as the Banks’ children, with Colin Firth as Fidelity Fiduciary Bank’s William Weatherall Wilkins; and Meryl Streep as Mary’s eccentric cousin, Topsy. Angela Lansbury appears as the Balloon Lady, a treasured character from the PL Travers books and Dick Van Dyke is Mr. Dawes, Jr., the retired chairman of the bank now run by Firth’s character.