Many things come to mind when you think of Meryl Streep. Talented is one, able to adapt into a role is another, and of course an astounding 21 Academy Award nominations (and 3 wins to boot). But one attribute that doesn’t seem to fit the bill is eccentric – but she superbly displays it in her small role in Mary Poppins Returns.
The 69-year old actress joins Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda in the star-studded cast of the sequel to 1964’s Mary Poppins, with Blunt portraying the titular role after Julie Andrews played her 55 years ago. Streep plays Mary’s eccentric cousin Topsy Turvy, who likes to fix things in her repair shop.
Director Rob Marshall wanted to continue paying homage to PL Travers’ original books and include characters who displayed qualities from the source material (like the joyous Uncle Albert from the 1964 film). Thus Marshall wanted to include Turvy in the film.
“The message is that [Turvy] sees things from a different point of view because everything turns upside down on this certain day and Mary Poppins explains that sometimes it’s good to see things from a different point of view,” said Marshall.
So who did Marshall think could send that message best? The one and only Meryl Streep. The two had previously worked together for 2014’s Into The Woods, and upon being asked to play a small part in the film, Streep agreed; she even teased him for taking so long to ask her.
Having Streep on board was a big help for Marshall to make the film, “To live in a world that has hope and escape and fantasy and truth and reality and emotion and all those other things, feels so important right now. In fact, it has become more important each day in this world.” Streep agreed with Marshall saying, “I want to be part of bringing this message to the world now. This, to me, is a gift to the world now.’”
Marshall wasn’t the only reunion that Streep had in the film, but Blunt herself. They too worked on Into The Woods together, and even way before in 2006’s The Devil Wears Prada. According to Blunt, the reunion was another unforgettable experience since they once more playing characters who were “contentious with one another”.
“She’s a really crazy, very colorful, eccentric character. We have a somewhat contentious relationship, which was really fun to play, and we drive each other crazy!” said Blunt on Streep’s Topsy Turvy, as compared to her Mary Poppins as we all know is ‘practically perfect in every way’.
Whatever Walt Disney found in bringing Mary Poppins to life all those years ago, Streep is confident that Mary Poppins Returns will recreate that feeling of wonder. “It’s so wonderful, the soul of the movie. It’s about the power of imagination,” she said.
Mary Poppins Returns is now out in Philippine cinemas nationwide. Check out the trailer below, and catch it in theaters now!
Also check our other Mary Poppins Returns features on director Rob Marshall, and Dick Van Dyke (reprising a character from the original Mary Poppins). We also have a feature on Angela Lansbury, who appears in the film, with a message for film nominee hopefuls this awards season.