Prepare to step in time and chim your chimerneys once again, for we have some jolly holiday news for you. Walt Disney Pictures' forthcoming Mary Poppins Returns has filled a Bert shaped hole, with news arriving via The Hollywood Reporter that Dick Van Dyke will be making an appearance.
The 91-year-old Van Dyke himself revealed the news to The Hollywood Reporter. It is not clear whether it is a large role or just a cameo – or even if he is returning to play dancing chimney sweep Bert at all. But, he says, "It's a great cast – Meryl Streep, Angela Lansbury and that guy [Lin-Manuel Miranda] from Hamilton." Lansbury is another new name in connection with the film. The actress wasn't part of the original Poppins, of course, but starred in its sibling Bedknobs And Broomsticks (1971).
The story this time around finds the magical Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) returning 25 years after she brightened the Banks family's lives to find that grown children Michael (Ben Whishaw) and Jane (Emily Mortimer) are having fresh issues involving tragedy and a serious lack of sparkle in depression-era London.
Mary will need all the help she can get, enlisting cousin Topsy (Meryl Streep) and friendly lamplighter Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda). And Colin Firth (The Kings Speech) is playing the aptly named William Weatherall Wilkins, president of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank. That bank was previously run by the very senior Mr Dawes – also played by Van Dyke.
David Magee (Finding Neverland) wrote the script for this one, working on other material from novelist PL Travers' Poppins books. Rob Marshall (Into The Woods) is gearing up to direct with the aim of having the movie in cinemas by Christmas 2018.