If you’ve been following the career of Rob Marshall, the Hollywood favorite who most recently helmed the not-half-bad adaptation of the Broadway classic Into the Woods, you know that he’s been working on a project based around Mary Poppins, the famed creation of author P.L. Travers. It’s a natural bit of material for those who ride high in the big-budget arenas of filmmaking, with plenty of ways to manifest the magical abilities of Poppins through practical and digital effects. It might turn out to be ideal subject matter for Marshall, and while answering questions with Vulture at the National Arts Awards, Marshall made a point of making certain everyone knows that his Mary Poppins movie is not simply a new Mary Poppins or a remake per se. This is what he had to say on the subject:
“It is not a new Mary Poppins…P.L. Travers wrote eight books all together. They worked from the first book, and we are working from the other books, not touching the iconic brilliance of Mary Poppins. This is an extension. I’m a huge fan of the original, and I’m a very good friend of Julie Andrews, and I hold it in such awe…There is all this new material — it was the Harry Potter of its time — and they were never turned into anything further than that adventure.”
So, there you have it. The story for the new Mary Poppins will not simply be a re-hash of Julie Andrews‘ magical visit to a troubled family’s home, but that doesn’t mean the film will not, in effect, be marketed as a new Mary Poppins. There’s always the possiblity that the film will take a new name (prediction: just Poppins) or turn it into something like Mary Poppins and the Case of the Chimney’s Gate, but the marketing will no doubt use the comparing and contrasting of Marshall’s film with the original Disney production. That being said, that’s not really Marshall’s job or fault, and there’s every reason to believe that Marshall can spin this material into exuberant, if not exactly substantive entertainment that’s fun and memorable in its own distinct way.