You may know him from his other musical films such as Chicago, Nine, and Into the Woods, and perhaps his other directing credits Memoirs of a Geisha and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, but for director Rob Marshall his latest work is one he has been thinking of for a very long time.
Marshall, who previously worked on Broadway as a choreographer and director, has taken the reins behind Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt as the titular character, with Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Whereas his other musical films were screen adaptations, this will be his first with an original story – continuing the events of the 1964 film decades later with the Banks children grown up.
Set in Depression-era London during the 1930s – the same time period of PL Travers’ books when she introduced Mary to the world – Jane and Michael Banks are now adults, but it won’t stop the legendary Mary Poppins from dropping in for another magical adventure.
“I’d never had the chance to create an original musical for film before. I’ve always, always, always wanted to do an original musical for film,” says the 58-year old director.
Producer Marc Platt finds Marshall a master of being able to coordinate the essence of classical musical filmmaking with the movie’s contemporary drive, “His approach is precise, and he never settles. He finds the magic in every frame, in every scene, in every musical number.”
Marshall found the task of following the original Mary Poppins (where Julie Andrews plays the iconic nanny) quite daunting, it being the first film he had seen as a child. “It opened up my mind to movies and to the love of musicals, adventure and fantasy in film,” he says, “I was thrilled at the same time and excited about the idea of taking on something like this.”
“It was obvious there were many more stories to be told, and once we read all the books we were able to combine elements from a number of them that emphasized Travers’ recurring theme that, as we become adults, we become disillusioned and cynical and forget how to look at life through a child’s eyes,” he also shares.
Mary Poppins Returns arrives in Philippine cinemas Tuesday, January 8.