The iconic actor, 93, has often been ridiculed for his ropey accent in the 1964 film, as he played Bert the chimneysweep. Now, he’s back – as Mr Dawes Jr. And in a new interview, he’s joked about having coaching in order to perfect his (non-Cockney) accent for his brief cameo, and how the jokes have not stopped over the last 54 years about how he sounded last time out.
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“I’ve taken it on the chin for 60 years about my atrocious Cockney accent in the first movie,” he told The New York Times.
“No one has ever forgotten it.”
And of the new sequel, he added: “They had a language gal almost handcuffed to me.
”She made me sound pretty good. They won’t laugh at me on this one.”
Van Dyke’s original co-star Julie Andrews does not feature in the movie, with one rumour suggesting she was initially considered for the role of the Balloon Lady – a part ultimately played by Angela Lansbury.
But Emily Blunt told Variety: “There was discussion about, you know, that maybe she would come and do a bit in the movie and she was so generous actually.
“She said to Rob [Marshall, director], ‘Do you know what this is? This is Emily’s version of her and I don’t want it to be that she’s playing Mary Poppins the whole way through but then I come in and there’s like oh, ‘but there’s the real Mary Poppins’, you know?”
Producer Marc Platt added: “She wasn’t supposed to be in it at all.
“But she’s a friend of Rob’s and a friend of ours and a big fan of Emily Blunt and has been lovely since day one about how this is Emily’s turn and how happy she is for her.
Alongside Blunt in the cast are Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer as the grown-up Banks children.
Lin-Manuel Miranda is also on board, alongside Meryl Streep and Colin Firth.
Mary Poppins Returns is out now.