Disney developing MARY POPPINS sequel, Rob Marshall to direct

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Well isn’t this a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious kind of development. Continuing their seemingly unending mission to revitalize all their old, most beloved properties, Disney are busy developing a live-action sequel to Mary Poppins.

The original 1964 musical film was based on the books by P.L. Travers and starred the legendary Julie Andrews as the eponymous magical nanny who visits a dysfunctional London family, bringing them all together with her special blend of magic, music and hard to pronounce gibberish words. Oh and Dick Van Dyke was also there with an accent so bad it became a legend itself.

THR are reporting that the new film will be directed by Oscar-winner Rob Marshall (Chicago, Into the Woods, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) and that the script from David Magee (Life of Pi) will take place 20 years after the events of the original film. The duo of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray, Smash) have been tapped to pen all new songs for the film.

That team will certainly have their work cut out for them if they wish to live up to the legacy of the original film, which is not only a timeless fan favourite but was nominated for 13 Oscars – the most of any Disney movie ever – of which it won 5, including Best Picture. The film was even selected in 2013 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. So yeah, no pressure.

It is believed that this still unnamed sequel will indeed be going back to Traver’s book series for inspiration (the original movie was mostly based on the first book published in 1934), with Disney working closely with the Travers estate on the production.

If you’ve seen last year’s Saving Mr Banks, starring Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Watson as Travers, you would know that this is quite different from the development of the original film. Though an occasionally very inaccurate dramatization of events, (it didn’t take Walt Disney 20 years to convince the prickly Travers to allow him to make a movie based on her works, as he already had the rights), it does show the very tumultuous production the film had as Travers constantly butted heads with the cast, crew and Disney himself.

Although Disney overruled her almost every time, she had some major issues with the film – the biggest being the use of animated sequences due to her disdain for Disney’s animated films (who hates Mickey Mouse?) and softening, more whimsical tone that the movie takes – and never fully approved of it. In fact, she was apparently so outraged at the results that her last will and testament banned any further adaptations of her work. Clearly though, Disney and the Travers estate have now come to some kind of arrangement. I hope.

And remember, if you’re getting sick of all these Disney live-action remakes and sequels, then…

Last Updated: September 15, 2015

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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