Lin-Manuel Miranda is already playing a spiritual successor to Bert the Chimney Sweep in Mary Poppins Returns, the 20-years-later sequel to the 1964 Disney musical. But it turns out the 91-year-old comedic actor Dick Van Dyke will be back nonetheless.
The reveal comes from a Hollywood Reporter feature called "Creative Until You Die" (subtitle: "Retire? F--- That"), where Van Dyke reveals that he's signed on. (Article sample, just for a 2016 snapshot of the fellow: "When I arrived at Van Dyke's Malibu home, Dixieland jazz blared as the 91-year-old sashayed around his kitchen, hips swaying and teeth gleaming.")
Of his enthusiasm to participate in the Julie Andrews–starring original (Emily Blunt wields the umbrella this time), Van Dyke said, "There was a spirit about that thing from the very beginning. Walt [Disney] had me in, and I heard the score and saw the scenes storyboarded on a wall, and I just knew." He thinks Returns has "a great cast," which now counts Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer and Angela Lansbury—who was considered for the starring role in '64—among its ranks.
Last week, Lin-Manuel Miranda told Entertainment Weekly about his admiration for Dick Van Dyke, noting that they had not yet met:
"That connection has not been made yet. I hope to make it in the coming year. My brain is certainly in a W.W.D.V.D.D. mode right now as I am high-kicking. But yeah, the more I get into the nuts and bolts of rehearsal and singing and dancing, the more I am in awe of his performance."
Miranda previously told Variety, “I’d love to meet him. I cried like everyone else did when he showed up on [February 2016's] The Wonderful World of Disney: Disneyland 60 and started stepping in time. Just horizontal tears out of my face.”
In the THR feature, Van Dyke says of his refusal to quit the game, "I think it's the worst thing you can do. Certain people who do retire suddenly age. I think you have to stay active."
Enjoy an episode of Fuse's nostalgia podcast Besterday: