Talk about a step in time! Last week Disney announced that Mary Poppins will be popping back into our lives soon enough with a sequel inspired by both the classic Julie Andrews-helmed film and the original P.L. Travers book series.
Mary Poppins has inspired generations with her magic and mystery, and with new songs to match a new story (set 20 years after the original movie), this adaptation is ready for a fresh take on a beloved franchise.
Here’s five beautiful British stars that we think have the chops to step into Julie Andrews’ practically perfect shoes.
As a Golden Globe nominee and the star of Rob Marshall’s Into the Woods, many people already believe Emily Blunt’s got the titular role on lock, considering Disney has also hired Marshall to direct the upcoming Mary Poppins reboot.
Indeed, we can’t help but agree that Emily Blunt would be an ideal Mary. Her effortless charm comes through even at her most neurotic, (she makes Meryl Streep’s manic assistant seem downright lovable in The Devil Wears Prada!), and the underlying warmth she manages to give each of her characters would add a degree of humanity to the practically perfect (and occasionally condescending) nanny. And of course, those pipes she showed off in Into the Woods certainly have quite the bite of their own.
Previously best known for her role as Keira Knightley’s beautiful Bennet sister in Pride and Prejudice, Rosamund Pike blew up last summer with her Academy-Award nominating role in Gone Girl.
As an actress, this British beauty has a duality to her presence that screams Mary Poppins. She’s able to infuse her characters with complexity, somehow managing to play them as both demure and commanding, put together and a little bit nuts. Finally, as the daughter of two opera singers, chances are good that Rosamund Pike’s got some singing skills of her own.
As Lady Mary on Downton Abbey, Michelle Dockery has got frosty bitch with a secretly soft heart down pat. Her pretty, porcelain doll face is at once both polite and stern, composed and aloof — the perfect canvas for Mary Poppins’ quintessentially British manners.
As a plus, we already know she looks positively fabulous in Edwardian fashion, and her jazzy voice would bring a modern take to the 21st century remake of a classic Julie Andrews’ musical.
Man, can this girl sing. A previous unknown within the United States, Samantha Barks managed to beat out dozens of Hollywood starlets to snag the role of Eponine in the Oscar-winning musical film Les Misérables.
A trained dancer, Samantha Barks certainly has the style and grace to pull of Mary Poppins, and the twenty-four year-old’s youthful energy would add a feisty spin to the classic British heroine.
At fifty-six, Emma Thompson is the oldest actress on this list. The quintessential British matron, Emma Thompson is one of the U.K.’s most acclaimed actresses.
As Nanny McPhee, Thompson already has experience playing stern but loving British nannies, but it is her award-winning turn as the author of Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers, in Saving Mr. Banks that truly makes her qualified for the role. Emma Thompson infuses the haughty woman with a warmth that makes us root for her despite her contrary ways. Not to mention that since she is set to star as Mrs. Potts in the live-action Beauty and the Beast adaptation, she’s already a pro at Disney musical remakes.