“Mary Poppins Returns” is directed by Rob Marshall (“Into the Woods,” “Chicago”). The screenplay is by David Magee (“Life of Pi”) and the screen story is by Magee & Marshall & John DeLuca (“Into the Woods”) based upon The Mary Poppins Stories by PL Travers. The producers are Marshall, DeLuca and Marc Platt (“La La Land”) with Callum McDougall serving as executive producer and the music is by Marc Shaiman (“Hairspray”) with songs by Shaiman and Scott Wittman (“Hairspray”). The film also stars Ben Whishaw (“Spectre”) as Michael Banks; Emily Mortimer (“Hugo”) as Jane Banks; Julie Walters (“Harry Potter” films) as the Banks’ housekeeper Ellen; with Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”) as Fidelity Fiduciary Bank’s William Weatherall Wilkins; and Meryl Streep (“Florence Foster Jenkins”) as Mary’s eccentric cousin, Topsy and introduces three new Banks’ children played by Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and newcomer Joel Dawson. Angela Lansbury appears as the Balloon Lady, a treasured character from the PL Travers books and Dick Van Dyke is Mr. Dawes Jr., the retired chairman of the bank now run by Firth’s character.
PL Travers first introduced the world to the no-nonsense nanny in her 1934 children’s book “Mary Poppins.” However, the subsequent adventures of Mary Poppins remained only on the pages of the seven other PL Travers’ books…until now. “Mary Poppins Returns” is drawn from the wealth of material in these additional books. The film takes place in 1930s Depression-era London 24 years after the original film was set. Michael Banks works for the same financial institution that employed his father and still lives at 17 Cherry Tree Lane with his three children, Annabel, John and Georgie and their housekeeper Ellen. Carrying on in her mother’s tradition, Jane Banks campaigns for workers’ rights and provides a helping hand to Michael’s family. When the family suffers a personal loss, Mary Poppins magically re-enters their lives and with Jack’s help, brings joy and wonder back into their home.
“Mary Poppins Returns” will be released in U.S. theaters on December 25, 2018.