'Mary Poppins Returns' with Blunt, 'Hamilton' star Miranda

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[June 01, 2016]   LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Britain's beloved cinematic singing nanny Mary Poppins will once again grace the big screens, this time with Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and star of the Broadway smash-hit "Hamilton," as her sidekick, Walt Disney Co said on Tuesday.

"Mary Poppins Returns," a sequel to the 1964 classic film "Mary Poppins," is scheduled for release in theaters on Christmas Day 2018 and will star British actress Blunt in the titular role made famous by Julie Andrews.

Miranda, who recently won a Pulitzer Prize for creating and starring in Broadway's historical, hip-hop musical "Hamilton," will play a new character named Jack, a street lamplighter.

"Mary Poppins," the movie based on the popular children's books by author P.L. Travers, followed a magical flying British nanny as she improved the lives of the unhappy Banks family with the aid of chirpy Cockney chimneysweep Bert, played by Dick Van Dyke.

The new film will be set in Depression-era London, the setting of Travers' stories, and will see Mary Poppins return to the now grownup Jane Banks, Michael Banks and his three children after they suffer a personal loss, Disney said.

"Through her unique magical skills, and with the aid of her friend Jack, she helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives," the studio said.

The studio did not say in its statement whether Andrews, now 80, or Van Dyke, 90, will appear in any capacity and representatives for the actors did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment.

"Mary Poppins Returns" is the latest in a slate of reboots from Disney, which last year remade animated fairytale "Cinderella" into a live action film. Disney will also release the live action "Beauty and the Beast," starring Emma Watson, next year.

The studio also owns George Lucas' "Star Wars" science-fiction adventure franchise and the Marvel superhero franchise.

(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy, editing by G Crosse)

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