Entertainment & Arts

Disney's Mary Poppins sequel to get Christmas Day debut

Emily Blunt Image copyright AP
Image caption Emily Blunt will take the role made famous by Julie Andrews in the 1964 original

Disney's sequel to the classic children's film Mary Poppins, starring Emily Blunt as the magical nanny, will debut on Christmas Day in 2018.

The Rob Marshall-directed film was previously announced but no release date was given.

Marshall said he was "humbled and honoured" to be taking on the story.

Mary Poppins, which starred Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, was a major success when it was released in 1964 and picked up five Oscars.

Based on the books of PL Travers, it told the story of a magical nanny who arrived to help Mr and Mrs Banks and look after their children Jane and Michael.

Travers wrote eight books about Mary Poppins, which were published between 1934 and 1988, but only the first has previously been adapted for the big screen.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Miranda, who created and stars in the Broadway musical Hamilton, will play a street lamplighter

A Disney spokesman said the sequel would take up the story of a "now-grown" Jane and Michael, and Michael's three children, who will be visited by Poppins in "Depression-era London... following a personal loss".

"Through her unique magical skills, and with the aid of her friend Jack, she helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives," he said.

Jack, a street lamplighter who did not appear in the original film, will be played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who created and and performed in Broadway hit, Hamilton.

The script will be written by Finding Neverland screenwriter David Magee, who will be "drawing from the wealth of material in Travers' seven additional novels", the spokesman added.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The much-loved original was a major success and won five Oscars

Marshall, who previously directed Chicago and Into The Woods, said the "iconic original film means so much to me personally".

"I look forward to creating an original movie musical that can bring Mary Poppins, and her message that childlike wonder can be found in even the most challenging of times, to a whole new generation," he said.

Marc Shiaman and Scott Wittman, best known for their work on the Broadway adaptation of Hairspray, will produce the music for the film.

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