Two months ago, when Dick Van Dyke revealed that he will appear in Mary Poppins Returns, it was assumed that he would portray an all-new character since the sequel takes place only 20 years after the 1964 original. And yes, while the 91-year-old actor won't be portraying Bert -- the cockney jack-of-all-trades -- in the upcoming film, he is portraying the son of another character he played in the Disney classic.
Some of you might not know this, but Dick Van Dyke played two roles in Mary Poppins. When Van Dyke read the script and listened to the "Fidelity Fiduciary Bank" song, he knew right away that he wanted to also portray the villainous old bank president Mr. Dawes. Van Dyke asked Walt Disney if he could screen-test for it, which involved a two-hour makeup process, and even offered to do the role for free (he got paid for the part and donated the money to Cal Arts). The name "Navckid Keyd" is credited for playing the role, which is an anagram of Dick Van Dyke.
So, in Mary Poppins Returns, Van Dyke will be playing the son of Mr. Dawes. He is simply named Mr. Dawes Jr. and is the chairman of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank.
Mary Poppins Returns is set in 1930s depression-era London (the time period of the original novels) and is drawn from the wealth of material in PL Travers' additional seven books. In the story, Michael (Ben Whishaw) and Jane (Emily Mortimer) are now grown up, with Michael, his three children and their housekeeper, Ellen (Julie Walters), living on Cherry Tree Lane. After Michael suffers a personal loss, the enigmatic nanny Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) re-enters the lives of the Banks family, and, along with the optimistic street lamplighter Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda), uses her unique magical skills to help THE FAMILY rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives. Mary Poppins also introduces the children to a new assortment of colorful and whimsical characters, including her eccentric cousin, Topsy (Meryl Streep).
The cast also includes Colin Firth plays William Weatherall Wilkins, the man who runs Fidelity Fiduciary Bank, and Dick Van Dyke plays Mr. Dawes Jr., the chairman of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank, as well as three new Banks children, played by Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, and newcomer Joel Dawson.
It's being directed and produced by Oscar-nominee, Emmy and DGA Award winner Rob Marshall (Into the Woods, Chicago). The screenplay is by Oscar-nominee David Magee (Life of Pi), based on The Mary Poppins Stories by PL Travers. Oscar-nominee and Tony-winner Marc Shaiman (Hairspray) is composing an original score and co-writing all new songs with Emmy-nominee and Tony-winner Scott Wittman (Hairspray).
MORE: Disney Begins Production Of Mary Poppins Sequel / Dick Van Dyke Confirms He Is Part Of Mary Poppins Sequel / Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda Discusses Mary Poppins Returns
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Mary Poppins Returns is scheduled for release December 25, 2018.