It’s not everyday that you get to see and meet a very popular broadway star but that’s what went down in Los Angeles on my press trip with Disney for Mary Poppins Returns! I got to meet Lin-Manuel Miranda the creator and star in Hamilton! He plays “Jack” in the upcoming film, Mary Poppins Returns but he took the time out of his busy schedule to sit and chat with us about being in the iconic film, if his son has seen the movie, costuming and more! Check it out inside…
It’s been a long time since you professionally performed work other than your own, right? So how did that work for you, doing Mary Poppins Returns?
Lin: It is the fruit of the harvest. No, honestly, I started writing, I started writing In The Heights because I very quickly realized at age eighteen that no one was gonna write my dream musical. That I did not have the ballet training to play Bernardo in West Side Story. Or Paul in A Chorus Line. And if you’re a Puerto Rican dude that’s all you get. In the cannon. So In The Heights really was the beginning of creating my own opportunities. Hamilton is an extension of that.
And then to have Rob Marshall call you and tell you, you know, it’s Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins and you’re the only other person we have in mind and we’re gonna build from there, it felt like the fruit of the harvest. The harvest I began when I was eighteen years old.
How is it different being in musical theater versus starring in a musical movie production?
Lin: You finish the eight minute dance number and you wait a year and a half for applause. But honestly, you’re trying to tell the truth on stage and you’re trying to tell the truth in film. The difference is the energy source. Doing eight shows a week is a yoga. You’re gonna hit the same positions every night but you’re gonna hit ’em differently depending on your energy, the audience, you’re fellow performers. And you have two the next day.
The energy source in making a film is, especially a film like this, today you’re dancing with penguins. Tomorrow you’re singing with Meryl Streep. Friday you’re shutting down Buckingham Palace with 800 bikers. And you’re not coming back. We’re not going back to the penguins next week. You don’t get two shows a day with Meryl Streep tomorrow. So the adrenaline source becomes this is a once-in-a-lifetime moment and you have to be completely present. And so it just shifts from the audience to the sheer one-of-a-kindness of it.
Did you find the costumes comfortable or uncomfortable, especially with dancing in them?
Lin: Yeah. Well, Sandy Powell’s a wizard and she’s sort of a Mary Poppins herself. She looks not of this world. She comes in with this orange hair and these amazing outfits. The next thing you know, you’re wearing an amazing outfit, which is very Poppins-esque. And, but dancing was always given priority. So even in those hand-painted suits in the Royal Dalton Ball and that is painted, that is like acrylic paint on the suits, there’s give and there’s stretch in the pants so we can sort of do our work.
Has your son seen the movie?
Lin: Not yet. He’ll see it in a couple of weeks. I brought him to work every time I had a musical number. And when we would drive through London while we were living there, he would point at Big Ben and say, “Daddy climbs that for work.” So I’m so curious now that he has much more language than he did, how those moments will sort of percolate and solidify in his brain.
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. The producers are John DeLuca, p.g.a., Rob Marshall, p.g.a. and Marc Platt, p.g.a. with Callum McDougall serving as executive producer. The music score is by Marc Shaiman and the film features all new original songs with music by Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman. The film also stars Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks; Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks; Julie Walters as the Banks’ housekeeper Ellen; Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and introducing Joel Dawson as the Banks’ children, with Colin Firth as Fidelity Fiduciary Bank’s William Weatherall Wilkins; and Meryl Streep as Mary’s eccentric cousin, Topsy. 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.
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Images by Disney, Jana Seitzer