Angela Lansbury rejoins Disney for Mary Poppins sequel

Legendary actress Angela Lansbury is back working with Disney for the upcoming ‘Mary Poppins Returns’.

Credit: WENN
Credit: WENN

Despite the Hollywood legend appearing as Mrs. Potts in 1991’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’, Disney didn’t recall her for the new live-action version that hits cinemas next month. But with the production of the long-awaited ‘Mary Poppins’ sequel firmly underway, The Hollywood Reporter reveals that she’s on board.

Lansbury will play Balloon Lady, which is a character from some of author P .L. Travers’ original stories. The ‘Murder She Wrote’ icon had already appeared in a live-action Disney musical before – back in 1971’s ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’, where she starred alongside David Tomlinson, in a movie that blended live-action characters with 2D animated ones.

The first ‘Mary Poppins’ was released way back in 1964, so it’s been a lengthy duration between that and its eventual follow-up. Emily Blunt is confirmed to play the famed magical nanny, with a plethora of talent making up director Rob Marshall’s cast.

‘Mary Poppins Returns’ has quite the ensemble, including multi Oscar winner and record-breaking nominee Meryl Streep as Topsy, British acting royalty Colin Firth as William Weatherall Wilkins, Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack, Emily Mortimer and Ben Wishaw as Jane and Michael Banks. Even Dick Van Dyke – the star of the original film – makes an appearance as Mr. Dawes Jr. (yet played Bert/Mr. Dawes Senior in the first).

It’s a welcomed big screen return for Lansbury’, especially with her involvement in film and TV slowing down over the years, now in her 92nd year. The rumour of an appearance in the next season of HBO’s fantasy drama series ‘Game of Thrones’ was (sadly) debunked last year, with many fans begging for the rumour to be true and to see her alongside Diana Rigg.

Beauty and the Beast. Credit - Rex_Shutterstock
1991’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Credit – Disney

Disney seems to be sticking to their live-action remake policy in regards to pushing both ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Mary Poppins Returns’; having already boasted huge financial success with the likes of ‘Maleficent’, ‘Cinderella’, and ‘The Jungle Book’, which are all from animation to live film adaptations from their catalogue of classics.

Coming up are live-action outings for ‘ ‘Aladdin’, ‘The Lion King’, ‘Mulan’, and even ‘Dumbo’. While the Mouse House are on something of an extremely good roll with their output over the past six or seven years, there comes a time when every studio has an inevitable dip, however unlikely it seems. Will they be able to churn out these conversions with the success of their predecessors, or will one (or more) fall short of Disney’s now extremely high threshold?

According to preliminary release dates, ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ is in UK cinemas from 25 December, 2018, although this will likely alter to before Christmas.

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