Emily Blunt avoided watching Julie Andrews' original performance as Mary Poppins

Blunt takes the title role in Mary Poppins Returns.

Emily Blunt avoided re-watching the original musical film of Mary Poppins because she knew she would not be able to “out-Julie Julie Andrews”.

The actress, who takes the title role in Mary Poppins Returns, instead looked to the original book series for inspiration for the magical nanny, who Dame Julie Andrews played in the 1964 feature.

Blunt, 35, said she had drawn on the film’s source material to find her own take on the well-loved Disney character.

Mary Poppins Returns
Emily Blunt plays the lead role in Mary Poppins Returns (Disney/PA)

Asked whether she had re-watched the film, she told the Radio Times: “No one can out-Julie Julie Andrews, and I was worried my instincts would be diluted.

“What if I don’t measure up? In some ways, because there’s always those inklings of self-doubt. At the same time I felt relieved. I hadn’t watched it before. I knew, just because of how brilliant Julie Andrews was, that I’d made the right choice.

“I could celebrate her version for being quite separate to what I did. There was a bright line between my experience playing her and my experience watching Julie play her.”

The first book of the series, entitled Mary Poppins, was written by PL Travers and published in 1934, around 30 years before the release of the film starring Andrews.

Dame Julie Andrews played Mary Poppins in the 1964 film (James Carr/PA)

Blunt also said how her four-year-old daughter had thrown a tantrum when she had first seen her in costume as Poppins.

She added: “I showed the original movie to Hazel, my oldest [Violet is two], and she was absolutely spellbound. Completely entranced.

“She didn’t like seeing me dressed as Mary Poppins. They just want you to be their mum. It’s weird. So she’d be like, ‘Take your wig off!’ Or, ‘I just like your blonde hair, I don’t like your Mary Poppins hair.’”

The full interview is available in the Radio Times Christmas issue, in shops today.

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