Monday, March 31, 2014

Breaking News/ Rumor Mill: A Tim Burton Poppins?!

Note: Before the purists roll their eyes at my posting on Mary Poppins, please note: Poppins is a magical caretaker/late revealed otherworldly godparent/magical meddler - a type of character which is common in fairy tales, so it's not too much of a stretch to be discussing her type and iterations of her in a fairy tale news blog.  But yes, I agree: Mary Poppins doesn't fit the base definition of fairy tale.
All it took was a single tweet, a fan made poster and vague memories of Disney talking to Burton about something like this and the social media networks set to buzzing like crazed insects this past weekend.

The poster (yes, it's fan made - not from Disney) is at the head of the post. And here's the tweet that sparked the crazy:
And the article* that followed it:
Today, (March 29) Tim Burton announced on his Facebook page that he will be teaming up with Disney to create ‘Poppins’. It will continue the story of Mary Poppins.
The poster looks like we should be expecting a different side of the Mary Poppins universe, a much darker side.
It should be hitting theaters November 2016. We’ll keep you updated!
Whatever the case of true or not, the response has been interestingly polar. Comments are basically "cool", "aw YISS!" and "perfect fit!" then jump to the other end of the spectrum which reads "no, no, NO" and "Burton, step AWAY FROM THE POPPINS!"

Interestingly, I scanned a variety of social media, looking for key words rather than fans for or against,and the scales are definitely tipping toward the "we like this idea" end.

Problem is, I'm fairly certain (in the 80 to 90% range of certain) that this is pure rumor and speculation. At this point anyway. I DO think, however, that there's a good chance this rumor was gently encouraged to spread to see what the response would be, prior to approaching the idea for real. (Call me cynical - it wouldn't be the first time, nor the last.) Considering we've just had Saving Mr. Banks, I'm a little surprised at how much credence this is being given, but then people are quite aware there's nothing like milking a franchise either. Perhaps it was the addition of Winona Ryder's name being added to the possible-Mary's list..? The internet definitely has it's own version of Chinese Whispers.

A reason someone could put any stock in the possibility at all, is because of some not-too-ancient-history sort of information being dug up and quoted like this (from two Italian papers in the last couple of days, for some odd reason - also, translation is auto, not mine):
A Jolly Nightmare by Brianna Garcia

Johnny Depp  and  Helena Bonham Carter  will star Poppins , the new film by Tim Burton made ​​in Disney announced for 2016.  
It 'a few years ago that Disney thinks of a remake of Mary Poppins. In 2011, it was reported on the decision to entrust the direction of the brilliant and unpredictable Tim Burton, and then, though, he's talked more. But what it means to have been abandoned. In fact, things have gone pretty far. And now here come interesting news. The film's release has been announced for the end of 2016, the protagonists are two actors quite dear to Burton Johnny Depp in the role of Chimney Sweeps and Helena Bonham Carter (who is also his wife) in the title role. 
Based on the series of novels written by Pamela Lyndon Travers, the first version of Mary Poppins in 1964 and was directed by Robert Stevenson, the main character was given to Julie Andrews (who won an Oscar), while it had the Chimney Sweep appearance of Dick Van Dyke.Before Burton, Disney and Rob Marshall had thought he had mentioned the name of Nicole Kidman for the main part. Then, however, have changed the cards on the table. 
The screenplay was written by Linda Woolverton ( Alice in Wonderland ), which kept the London setting of '900 and has focused mainly on the mysterious origins of Mary Poppins adding those dark elements so dear to Burton. 
We're really excited  - he said some time ago the president of Disney's Rich Ross -  of this new collaboration with Tim Burton. The competence and vision put into play with Alice in Wonderland made ​​us understand that it is the right person to bring this great story to the movies with the help of latest technology. It will be a spectacular film. And Helena Bonham Carter is just perfect in the multi-faceted role of Mary Poppins . " 
The film will be shot in  native 3D  with a budget of $ 150 million, and will result in a large deployment of special effects not only to rebuild the London of 1910, but also to recreate the magical world where Mary Poppins leads the young protagonists, and that in the original film had been created in 2D animation, with one of the first successful mix of animation and live action.Mary Poppins  will then become the next Tim Burton film after  Dark Shadows , which starts shooting this month. All other projects in which the director was working on, including The Addams Family  and the retelling of  Sleeping Beauty  by Disney produced their own (named  Maleficent ), will then be postponed. 
(Source HERE)

Mary Poppins by Matt Howorth
There seems to be a bit of mixed information here, some old, some adjusted for new information (did they mean Dark Shadows 2?  - which I haven't heard about - Or did they mean the original Burton Dark Shadows and that's the context for some of this?) and some sort of magical speculation for the rest. Where that Disney quote came from (and who said it) remains a mystery. We'll just have to see if Disney have anything at all to say about the hype this past weekend caused.

Depending on how long you've been a reader of this blog you are, or how consistently you catch up on the posts you may (or may not) know that Mary Poppins is one of those movies (and characters) that always creeped me out as a kid. As an adult it didn't get any better. P.L. Travers' books don't give me the same heebejeebies but the Disney film? Nightmarish. When the Scary Mary recut trailer appeared I felt vindicated that someone had finally seen my point of view.

Here's a post I wrote in an old blog (Remember Live Journal? Yeah, that old!), from 2008:
A character that's always bugged me is Mary Poppins. From the first time I saw that Disney film I was disturbed by this apparently perfect, almost emotionless, amazingly powerful woman with an agenda that's never revealed. She seemed alien to me and not at all comforting. if she'd been my nanny I would have had nightmares. As it is I just find her disturbing. Even with all that singing and dancing I was always aware of the ice in her eyes and the strangely perfect precision of all her movements and actions. I felt like Bert was under a spell, and not a good one. Oddly enough her arrival in the sky with the umbrella was like a black cloud appearing and it didn't go away until she blew away too. Despite this, umbrellas - and their potential to fly you away to distant places - are a wonderful image for me, as are dancing on chimneys and sidewalk paintings you can jump into, but my enjoyment of these is greatly disturbed by the shadowy, threatening presence of Miss Poppins. It's the cold perfection that I find completely inhuman and ultimately dangerous. I'll have to read the books to see if I can get a different sense of her but I always felt that she was really a personification of the Snow Queen and that the film was only ever Act I of the story. Act II, in which her sinister plan is revealed, was never completed and I was quite happy that we never saw her again.
So there's my Mary admission.
Although, I will also admit, I would LOVE to see a steampunk version of Mary Poppins and Tim Burton would be high on my consideration of directors for that sort of a take. (Steam-powered umbrella transports and talking umbrellas for the win!)

Regarding this Burton-to-make-Poppins rumor, however, I have to admit it has me wanting to take out my red pen and put question marks and suspicious circles around a whole lot of the 'legit' info. Unless Disney are sending out social media lures to test the waters, I can't see there being anything more substantial to it than that. For now. ;)**

What's your response? Fistpump, headdesk or eyeroll?

*First of all: I couldn't find ANY Facebook announcement from any Burton source saying this. Secondly: this is not a pro poster but a fan made one. Thirdly: there is no hint on IMDB or any other "in production" website that mentions this project in development in any form so a release date - even a tentative one, can't be quoted. It doesn't mean it won't happen but it means the article above is full of crap unsubstantiated comments.
** If something DOES happen, I'm going to guess the umbrella will have more than one line...


  1. i'm intrigued...the books, to me (especially the original), are much better than the dreadful film version. this could be rather cool, if well-executed. burton seems a quite good fit for it, really.

  2. I used to love Tim Burton's work, but his take on "Alice in Wonderland" was just painfully awful, in my opinion. "Mary Poppins" is already sufficiently sinister and quirky; I don't think it really needs a Tim Burton remake.

  3. i'll keep my hype really low untill something more official comes out. by the way i'm italian, so i searched a bit on the web and i think i found the article you mentioned. was it this one?:
    anyway, it referes to this article (, which is dated 1st april 2011 and guess what? it's an april fools prank! i think someone had the "great" idea to do another one this year. anyway, here explained the references to dark shadow and maleficent, that originally was thought for tim burton.