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Why Emily Blunt is perfect in every way for the role of Mary Poppins

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It's been 54 years since everybody's favourite magical nanny bid farewell to the Banks family, departing with umbrella in hand as she flew over the London skyline.

It is impossible to picture Disney classic Mary Poppins without conjuring up images of the title character's black flowery hat, long blue coat and bright red bow tie. But what springs to mind most is Julie Andrews and her harmonious voice, in a role that defined her career.

The enchanting nanny is set to return to our screens on December 19th in sequel Mary Poppins Returns, this time played by Emily Blunt. Here's why she's the perfect choice for the role, in every way.

1. She has a beautiful voice

If there is one thing Mary Poppins is renowned for, it's her ability to sing. The original film has many memorable musical numbers that, once heard, like all the best songs, are impossible to get out of your head. 'A Spoonful of Sugar', 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' and 'Feed the Birds' are some of the finest Disney songs ever performed.

Thankfully, Emily Blunt has already demonstrated her stunning singing voice in Disney musical Into the Woods as the baker's wife. Indeed, her voice was so powerful that it brought her husband John Krasinski to tears the first time he heard her sing.

So, if you're eagerly anticipating the tone of the musical numbers in Mary Poppins Returns, check out Blunt's earlier role, and get very excited.


2. She's a terrific performer

Julie Andrews won an Academy Award for playing Mary Poppins, which of course heightens the sense of expectation around Blunt's performance. However, Blunt has already proven what a fantastic actress she is, winning numerous awards in her career to date.

Perhaps what is most impressive about Blunt is just how versatile she is. We have seen her in musicals (the aforementioned Into the Woods), and rom-coms (The Five-Year Engagement), and she even can transition into action-based roles with ease when you look at films like Sicario and Edge of Tomorrow.

When taking into account her impressive accomplishments to date, and the range of emotions she's able to cover, we feel assured that Mary is in very good hands.


3. She's able to convey a delightful sense of fun

While Mary Poppins was at times stern and a great disciplinarian, she often did it with a sense of fun, wit and humour. These traits made her the ideal nanny for the Banks family, and many a child growing up subsequently wished they had a Mary Poppins in their life.

Well, Emily Blunt has already proven that she has a great sense of fun in her comedic roles. In movies like The Five Year-Engagement, Your Sister's Sister and The Devil Wears Prada, Blunt has shown that, as well as being a fantastic actress, she has great comic timing too. With that in mind, she's bound to nail the precise tone needed to play Mary, which has been demonstrated in brief glimpses in the trailer.


4. She's family-oriented in real life

At the heart of the Mary Poppins storyline is the importance of family – in the original film, the character employs music and adventure to help the two neglected Banks children become closer to their distant father.

If you listen to Emily Blunt in interviews, it's clear she loves her family and totally grasps the heart-warming message of Mary Poppins, talking about her two daughters in glowing terms, as well as what it is like to navigate her A-list career as a working mum.

During an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, she discussed her kids with her typical warmth and grace. She also recently worked with her husband on this year's hit horror film A Quiet Place, his directorial debut, so the love for her family also crosses over into her professional career. When Mary Poppins Returns arrives in December, Blunt will no doubt bring her own family experiences to the role, and that can only be a good thing.


5. She's putting her own spin on the character

While comparisons to Julie Andrews' Mary Poppins will be inevitable, Blunt has already said she will have her own interpretation as to who Mary is. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Blunt said she would be playing Mary "a bit more eccentric and frickin' weird". She referred to Poppins as "incredibly rude, vain and bratty – she really made me laugh".

Blunt also said that nobody would be able to outdo Julie Andrews, and that she would be taking a lot of her inspiration from the books by E.L. Travers. It will be great to see a take on Mary Poppins that will hopefully breathe fresh life into what is already one of cinema's most beloved characters.

We will be counting down the days until she comes back into our lives this December at Cineworld. Mary Poppins Returns is released on 19th December.

Andy Furlong is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.