Ben Whishaw, perhaps best known for his role as Q in the most recent James Bond films, is looking to join the cast of “Mary Poppins Returns.”
The Hollywood Reporter writes that Whishaw is currently in negotiations to play the grown-up Michael Banks character. According to the report, Banks is an integral role in the new story, which will see him experience a personal loss, which in turn prompts the return of his sister, Jane, as well as Mary Poppins and her lamplighter friend, Jack.
Meryl Streep, who is also in negotiations, is looking to play Poppins’ cousin, Topsy. Emily Blunt will play the titular role of Mary Poppins and “Hamilton” star and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda will play Jack.
Rob Marshall (“Chicago,” “Into the Woods”) is set to direct the sequel, which will reportedly take place in London during the Depression era, 20 years after the original film. The story will be based off of P.L. Travers’ books that feature Poppins’ later adventures with the Banks family. Marshall previously directed both Blunt and Streep in “Into the Woods.”
The sequel has big shoes to fill. The original 1964 film starred the beloved Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, and was a huge hit. The film grossed $100 million at the box office and went on to win five Oscars. It was an instant classic.
2013’s “Saving Mr. Banks” reignited interest in the story of Mary Poppins. That film told the behind-the-scenes story of P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) and Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) turning her books into the movie. In flashbacks Travers’ family history is also revealed, and along with it the inspiration for her books.
The sequel is currently in pre-production. David Magee (“Life of Pi”) is to write the screenplay for the film. Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman are collaborating on an original score and songs for the project.