News that the 1964 Disney classic Mary Poppins would be getting a long overdue sequel, known as Mary Poppins Returns, has delighted fans around the world. And the inclusion of Dick Van Dyke, who appeared in the original film, has made the upcoming release all the more sweet. However, it wasn't always so easy for the legendary actor to bag a role, and the 92 year-old recently revealed that he actually paid Disney for a second part in Mary Poppins, the original version.
Van Dyke, who portrayed Bert, a loveable cockney chimney sweep, paid Walt Disney $4000 (£3,100) in exchange for permission to take on a second role within the movie. As reported by the Independent, Disney accepted the payment and allowed the Hollywood icon to play the character of banker Mr Dawes Senior, in addition to his leading role. Many fans of the original Poppins had no clue about the actor's secondary part up until now, and when discussing the recent revelation, Van Dyke said "I said, 'I’ll do it for nothing.' Actually, I had to give him $4,000 dollars. I had to pay him to do the part, " he then added "And I'd do it again."
Whilst speaking on the U.S. television special, Mary Poppins Returns: Behind the Magic – A Special Edition of 20/20, the actor continued to discuss the anonymity of his second role. He said: "It’s funny when you’re a kid and you see it, you don’t realise that. You don’t realise it’s you in that other part."
The 2018 sequel follows the story of Michael (Ben Whishaw) and Jane Banks (Emily Mortimer) who have now grown up, and had children of their own - and after Michael suffers a personal loss, the practically perfect Mary Poppins emerges once again. Although revamping a much-loved franchise can often be risky, it appears the new addition to the Mary Poppins universe is a credit to the film's predecessor. According to the Metro, after an exclusive screening, the movie enjoyed a "lengthy applause" and standing ovation.
Mary Poppins Returns boasts a star-studded cast including the likes of Emily Blunt as Poppins herself, Broadway superstar Lin-Manuel Miranda, Julie Walters as the Banks housekeeper, Colin Firth as banker William Weatherall Wilkins and Meryl Streep as Poppin’s eccentric cousin. With a line-up this talented, it's no wonder that Disney are already gunning for Oscars gold, having submitted two songs for consideration in the Best Original Song category, titled "Trip A Little Light Fantastic"and "The Place Where Lost Things Go", reports Variety.
One of the film's producers, Marc Platt, has discussed how Poppins Returns is the perfect movie to enjoy during the current political climate. He said: "It’s a very complicated time we’re living in. It’s so valuable to export this to the world at this moment in time, when we wish for more optimism and hope, which we all had as kids."
Mary Poppins Returns is released in the UK on Dec. 21, and I couldn't think of a more magical start to Christmas.