Emily Blunt is in talks to star in a Mary Poppins sequel. It will inevitably be bad, but Blunt is so damn charming and actually kind of a good choice for a Julie Andrews’ successor that at least the sour taste of your childhood’s death will go down with a spoonful of sugar. It will be directed by Rob Marshall (Into the Woods, the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean installment). In case this movie isn’t depressing enough, it will also be set during the Depression. But although the setting, director, and possible star are known, the question of a male lead remains up in the air. Who can slap on Dick Van Dyke’s famously horrific Cockney accent and be charming enough to make it work?
1. Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy’s brooding intensity is completely wrong for the role of goofy Bert, but he sure is the king of unintelligible accents. If he can muster the energy, it would be a trip to see him channeling an affable demeanor in which to pleasantly garble his lines. Also, Tom Hardy tap dancing presents such a preposterous image that the world needs to see it. Everyone likes Tom Hardy enough to accept him trampling on their childhood, and he’s at his most fun when nobody can understand what the hell he’s saying. He might actually be making up his own language, here.
2. Bill Hader
Hader has Van Dyke’s wiry, sprightly, unpredictable presence down, and he’s got an impressively wide backlog of accents and impressions. It might not be accompanied by Van Dyke’s oddly suave demeanor, but at least you couldn’t hate Hader.
3. Sacha Baron Cohen
Ever since Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen has more or less faded out of cultural relevancy, with far more floundering misses than hits (Bruno, The Dictator). It’s easy to forget that he’s ridiculously talented when he wants to be, and he can sing and dance to boot. If you go to hate-watch the Mary Poppins sequel and find yourself crying at the exploitation of this beloved story, Cohen would make you laugh through your tears.
4. Actual Dick Van Dyke
Here’s a crazy idea, what about the real Dick Van Dyke plays the Dick Van Dyke role? The dude is 90 years old now, but he’s still got it.
5. Lizzy Caplan
This is an alternate for the female lead, in case Blunt doesn’t pan out — though Caplan could certainly make a mean gender-bent Bert. From Mean Girls to Masters of Sex to Cloverfield, Caplan is a chameleon as an actress, but she brings a natural charm and charisma to each role that would make a not-terrible Julie Andrews update.
If this movie is going to happen — even if it stars Emily Blunt, an unintelligible tap-dancing Tom Hardy, and a solid Van Dyke cameo — it has a very low chance of being supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. But a solid cast could at least make it semi-alidocious.