Mary Poppins returns to Cherry Lane. 54 years after Disney classic, Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyck gave way to Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The plot no longer occurs in the early twentieth century, but during the Great Depression. The era is darker, like ours, and needs a piece of sugar to help the drug flow.
Directed by: Rob Marshall (Chicago) Return to Mary Poppins tells the story of the children of the couple Banks. Beaten by grief and colossal debts, the family is assisted by Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) and Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda, a Broadway star with Hamilton), the street lamp is lighter. On the occasion of the release of the film on video, chief designer John Myhre tells the secrets of the magical decorations of the music.
Can you tell the story of Marie Poppins cousin upside down? This is the most impressive setting of the film.
I have been in the film industry for about 40 years and it's the most complicated set I've worked on. We actually built it upside down. To enter, there was a secret door. We went to the ceiling and when we looked in the air, we saw a country! The piano, statues … everything we saw was wrong. The inspiration comes from one of the seven novels of Mary Poppins and her cousin Topsy (Editor's note: written by PL Travers), which changes the world once a week: the coin turns and all items fall, as the hurricane has just passed. This idea was quickly rejected. We thought it would be more magical, turned to the world of Mary Poppins, if the whole room turned around with the actors who go into this world upside down.
Did you actually hang objects on the ceiling?
We tried to do everything very easily. It's a real piano: we just tried to remove as much weight as possible. Then we hung it on the wall above us. The ceiling can be lowered so that we can hold the elements on the wall. We had direct access to the case. Everything had to be very safe: everything was upside down and stars like Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt had to dance below! It must have been perfectly safe and it was. We bought everything on flea markets and antique shops. Everything in the movie – swords, shields, bird boxes – was actually built for the film. Emily BluntLin-Miranda Miranda and the children really followed these elements. It was not special effects. Rob enjoys working with real sets, especially for kids to have something real, instead of a green screen. Rob did not want the children to see him before he started shooting. It was a really magical place.
Do you recreate the Banks House in London?
For the needs of the film, the cherry and the park were built. Bank Banks were rebuilt, as did Admiral Bum and three others. We chose not to recreate exactly the house of the original film. We wanted to change it a bit because our story was different. In the first film, the family did not have much emotion, they were very formal, they were rich. in Return to Mary Poppins, we decided that it looks more like a house inhabited by a family. We reduced its size: it goes from three to two floors. The bale was exposed to give it a look closer to the middle class. It's edited to help us tell our story in the best possible way.
How was Mary Poppin's umbrella designed with a parrot headed? She looks so real.
It was a lot of fun to do. We wanted the film to be anchored in reality, that everything that emerged from Mary Poppins' imagination was real. My dream was to create an umbrella of Mary Poppins' parrot. I wanted to look real, carved in wood and inlaid with precious stones. My idea was that if you see this umbrella in an ancient shop, you will buy it, even if you did not want it in the beginning. We wanted it to be as realistic as possible because of the children. We wanted to work really hard. Everything you see as he does, when he speaks or trembles, was done for the real of the room. The head of the parrot is an animatronic and was unbelievable because you really could talk to him! He was held in his hands and had a puppy on the set who manipulated him. There was no cable, it worked with a battery.
Did you really shoot at Big Ben?
With Rob Marshall, the director of photography Dion Baby and the producers, we had the opportunity to visit Big Ben. We climbed 334 steps and stopped behind the clock, and then climbed higher above the bell tower. We were there when the bells rang. Incredibly. We had a relationship with reality to design our décor. We did not try to change the outside of Big Ben. We built the entire bell tower with the clock, as well as parts that the actors could climb. Inside, we made some arrangements. We wanted to give the impression that the scene is lit by a gas lamp – while today Big Ben is lightened by electricity. Besides, we did not want to change anything, Big Ben was such an icon. Everything is built almost to the right size.