Way back when I watched the first Mary Poppins movie, I never imagined Jane and Michael Banks as adults. It’s not a thought that ever crossed my mind, you know? In Mary Poppins Returns we get to see exactly that, and what a gift it is for fans of the original film. I really don’t know how I’ve lived this long without knowing what happened to the Banks children!
Seriously, I’m obsessed with Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer after watching this film. Their performances as Michael and Jane Banks were so earnest that there were parts that made me forget I was in a movie theater. They’re caring as brother and sister, and just as alike as they are different. There were tiny moments in the film…a shared smile here, an elevated tone there, that really brought sincerity to the portrayal of siblings.
I had a chance to interview Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer about their roles. Here’s what they had to say!
Emily Mortimer and Ben Whishaw talk about what it was like to work on Mary Poppins Returns
On working with Rob Marshall
Ben Whishaw: Rob Marshall doesn’t hold back. You feel his love. You feel his excitement about what you might bring to the table. I really value that. It makes you trust your best self.
Emily Mortimer: My dad always said that if you tell people they’re beautiful or wonderful and clever and talented and special and amazing, they are. Rob Marshall is so encouraging and makes you feel special.
On the most difficult scene in the film
Ben Whishaw: I think that the final scene when we’re on the balloons was quite challenging. That had to be the climactic moment, you know? It’s weirdly much easier sometimes to play misery and grief. Open-hearted and happy can be quite hard.
Emily Mortimer: Especially when you’ve been quite miserable the whole movie. There is a sad scene and Rob Marshall said that the sadness is going to come from seeing people trying to be happy, trying to do their best, and be happy and get along with it. As an actor, when you put this sort of sad moment, you’re tempted to really sort of milk it. I remember feeling grateful to his direction at that moment where he was like, no.
On the sibling chemistry between them
Ben Whishaw: We were really lucky. We just immediately got on and enjoyed each other’s company. We giggled about things and gossiped and just really got on.
Emily Mortimer: We spent a lot of time together. In rehearsals, and waiting to go on for rehearsals, and there were weeks and weeks of rehearsals. And then acting together. And then sitting around on the set for months, months, months together. So by the end (the chemistry was there).
On their favorite scenes in the movie
Ben Whishaw: I really love the big dance number. I’m just knocked out by it.
Emily Mortimer: I’m the same. I think it’s amazing. You can’t catch your breath almost. Like I keep saying, it’s like intravenous entertainment, the film. It’s like just when you think you’ve had enough, like you’ve gorged yourself, then along comes Dick Van Dyke, and then there’s that dance. And just, like, more, more, more, more. It’s amazing!
About Mary Poppins Returns
Here’s more about Mary Poppins Returns straight from the Disney studio:
In Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” an all new original musical and sequel, Mary Poppins is back to help the next generation of the Banks family find the joy and wonder missing in their lives following a personal loss. Emily Blunt stars as the practically-perfect nanny with unique magical skills who can turn any ordinary task into an unforgettable, fantastic adventure and Lin-Manuel Miranda plays her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter who helps bring light—and life—to the streets of London.
“Mary Poppins Returns” is directed by Rob Marshall. The screenplay is by David Magee and the screen story is by Magee & Rob Marshall & John DeLuca based upon the Mary Poppins Stories by PL Travers.
Mary Poppins Returns arrives in theaters on December 19, 2018!