Main Photo
Banks family home, 17 Cherry Tree Lane, London, 1930s… Mary Poppins [Emily Blunt] suddenly returns to once again care for the Banks children...two generations of them! The now grown and widowed Michael [Ben Whishaw], his sister Jane [Emily Mortimer] and Michael’s three young children... Screen image courtesy Disney ©2018 Disney Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.

MARY POPPINS RETURNS

January 18th, 2019 by Karen Burg


Set Decorator
Gordon Sim SDSA

Production Designer
John Myhre

Disney

Practically perfect in every way, Mary Poppins is back, to help the next generation of the Banks family find the joy and wonder missing in their lives...and to remind us as well!
 
Michael Banks was just a child when the practically-perfect nanny Mary Poppins first visited the Banks home, but he is now a grown man with children of his own. A struggling artist temporarily employed by Fidelity Fiduciary Bank—the same financial institution where his father and grandfather worked before him—Michael lives at 17 Cherry Tree Lane with his children: Annabel, John and Georgie. Times are tough in Depression-era London. It’s the 1930s, and the city is in the midst of the “Great Slump,” so money is tight, people are anxious and the future is uncertain.
 
The family is struggling to cope with the recent death of Michael’s wife, the children’s mother, and the house is rundown and in a constant state of chaos, despite the best efforts of their inefficient yet well-meaning and warmhearted housekeeper, Ellen. With the harsh reality of the times and the burden of their loss weighing heavily on the family, the children find themselves taking on additional responsibilities around the house…and growing up much too fast in the process.
 
Michael’s sister Jane has inherited her mother’s enthusiasm for good causes, and, while busy herself promoting workers’ rights, tries to help Michael and his family every chance she gets. The chairman of the bank, Mr. Wilkins—who appears to be a congenial and altruistic mentor to Michael but is actually duplicitous and shrewd—is in the process of foreclosing on the Banks home, sending the already frazzled Michael into a further tailspin.
 
Fortunately, the winds begin to change, and the enigmatic governess whose unique magical skills can turn any ordinary task into a fantastic adventure, enters the lives of the Banks family once again, having not aged a single day.
 
Teaming up with an old friend, Jack, a charming and eternally optimistic street lamplighter, they take the Banks children on a series of whimsical adventures and introduce them to colorful characters like Mary’s eccentric Cousin Topsy and Jack’s lovable band of leeries, bringing life, love and laughter back into their lives.      –Walt Disney Films
 
 
“We tried to keep the essence of PL Travers’ work by embracing the classic nature and beauty of the books and continuing the legacy of the beautiful worlds she created,” Producer John DeLuca notes. “We live in a time when people need some hope. Everyone could use a Mary Poppins in their own lives right now.”
 
Director Rob Marshall explains, “It’s essential to see things from a different angle. Mary Poppins understands that and helps the children understand that as well.”  He adds, “This is probably the most personal film I’ve ever done because of the profound nature of what it says about finding the child inside and keeping hope alive in a very dark time. It also feels especially timely to me because of the current world climate that we are in.”
 
The mulit-hyphenate/multi-talented/multi-award winning Director turned to his long-time collaborators, the Oscar-winning team [CHICAGO] Production Designer John Myhre and Set Decorator Gordon Sim SDSA International, to help him bring alive his dream of creating an original film musical...an homage to the classic movie musicals and a touchstone for our times.
 
“This is clearly a delicate time for the world,” the director says. “People feel unsure and vulnerable, so it’s important to have something that can lift us out of our day-to-day existence and remind us that there is still hope and wonder in the world.”
 
 



Photo 3
Banks family home… Director Rob Marshall asked his CHICAGO Oscar-winning team* Production Designer John Myhre and Set Decorator Gordon Sim SDSA International to help bring the world of Mary Poppins to life in the new original musical MARY POPPINS RETURNS. As the sequel to the 1964 MARY POPPINS takes audiences on an entirely new adventure, Sim graciously takes us behind the scenes! *Myhre & Sim were also Oscar nominees for Marshall’s provocative musical NINE Emily Mortimer, Ben Whishaw), Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson, Emily Blunt Photo by Jay Maidment ©2017 Disney Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.

Photo 4
Banks family home… “The two most daunting items to deal with were Mary's bag & her Parrot umbrella. Early one morning we set off in search of period carpets at a local Antique Market. We literally walked in and immediately came across a carpet dealer. On the ground in front of me was a not so large art deco carpet in greens, golds and rusts. It was very interesting & surprising, which is something Sandy Powell our costume designer had verbalized about Mary. I bought the carpet. Sandy was thrilled with the look, and we worked out how we would use the pattern and cut the shape of the bag. It became quite clear that real carpet wouldn't be easy to work with, so we made very good photos of the carpet and had the pattern printed on velvet. It worked beautifully.” Screen image courtesy Disney ©2018 Disney Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.

Photo 5
Banks family home… “We all wanted the Parrot Umbrella to be more elegant than the original...to be made of exotic woods with inlaid metal and stones. After only a few preliminary sketches Rob approved the design, and then our wonderful props team built this beautiful piece...” Screen image courtesy Disney ©2018 Disney Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.

Photo 6
Banks family home… “The Banks House was a daunting project to undertake. So many people have very fond clear memories of the original so we didn't want to disappoint them. Our story takes place 30 yrs. later after Michael's wife Kate had died. Our feeling was that it had been a happy, warm family home that now was a bit neglected without her touch. I chose warm deep toned fabrics to help with this and we aged all of the furniture to have a feeling that the house had been well lived in...” Ben Whishaw. Photo by Jay Maidment ©2018 Disney Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.

Photo 7
Banks family home… “Rob asked that we use the same console table that appeared in the foyer of the original film. Disney generously sent the piece over to London, and we placed it in our Hallway. John designed the house to be a little less grand than the original. Rob wanted to be more realistic about their social status, and I tried to reflect this in the decorations and the choice of furnishings. Its always lovely creating period sets but this really was a special one to bring to life...” Photo by Jay Maidment ©2018 Disney Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.

Photo 8
Banks family home… Dining room details... Photo by Jay Maidment ©2018 Disney Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.

Photo 9
Banks family home… The house is in a constant state of chaos, despite the best efforts of their inefficient yet well-meaning and warmhearted housekeeper Ellen [Julie Walters]. With the harsh reality of the times and the burden of their loss weighing heavily on the family, the children find themselves taking on additional responsibilities around the house…and growing up much too fast in the process. Photo by Jay Maidment ©2018 Disney Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.

Photo 10
Banks family home… Depression-era kitchen... Photo by Jay Maidment ©2018 Disney Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.

Photo 11
Banks family home, attic… “The Attic of the Banks house was a very special set to put together. We wanted the feeling that in happier times, artist Michael had used it as his painting studio, so there are many elements of his previous work there. We had original artwork created and then filled the room with memories of his and Jane's childhood. I had an exact replica of the lovely 'Feed the Birds' snow globe commissioned, we built the wooden 'Mary Poppins' blocks from the original movie and, of course, we created the original kite. Michael sings a heartbreaking song while surrounded by his wife's things and the ghosts of his childhood. John Myhre’s confined 'womb' of a set built in warm woods and Dion Bebe's sensitive lighting all enhance the mood of this scene...” Ben Whishaw. Photo by Jay Maidment ©2018 Disney Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.

Photo 12
Banks family home… Fortunately, the winds begin to change, and the enigmatic governess whose unique magical skills can turn any ordinary task into a fantastic adventure, enters the lives of the Banks family once again, having not aged a single day. Emily Blunt. Photo by Jay Maidment ©2018 Disney Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.

Photo 13
Banks family home… Marshall imparts, “This is probably the most personal film I’ve ever done because of the profound nature of what it says about finding the child inside and keeping hope alive in a very dark time. It also feels especially timely to me because of the current world climate that we are in.” Joel Dawson, Emily Blunt. Photo by Jay Maidment ©2018 Disney Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.

Photo 14
Banks family home… Sim adds, “Rob was clear from the beginning that he wanted to be very respectful of what had come before us in the original picture but that he very much wanted to make it our own movie. The Nursery is a good example of this. We looked carefully at the original floor plan and furniture layout as well as the furnishing, fabric & toys. Both John and I liked the idea of a pale yellow for the room's walls. We chose a very simple period pattern from a wonderful business in London that specializes in recreating period papers. The lavender in Mary's room was a surprise find when we were looking through old sample of period papers. Finding beds is always a challenge, particularly when we wanted a pair and a single. I found two different single period beds at an Antique fair. Our wonderful props team made a second of one of them so that John and Annabelle would have matching beds. We kept to simple stripes for fabrics & let the artwork, toys and clothes bring color.” Photo by Jay Maidment ©2018 Disney Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.



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