Emily Blunt‘s journey to becoming Mary Poppins was laborious.
The 35-year-old actress covers the December issue of Vogue, available nationwide Nov. 23, and opens up about taking on the iconic role, as well as returning to work only six weeks after giving birth to daughter Violet.
Blunt first became attached to Mary Poppins Returnsin 2015 after director Rob Marshall gave her a call. A year later, she was pregnant with her second daughter with husband John Krasinski and working with Lin-Manuel Miranda on the film’s songs.
“It was medicinal, singing these happy Mary Poppins songs after what I’d been through every day,” Blunt, who had been finishing up the thriller The Girl on the Train at the time, says. “Poor Violet; she’d been rattling around inside me while I played this alcoholic train wreck. But then I think she benefited from all the singing.”
A month and a half after welcoming Violet, Blunt was back to work and “ducking out every so often to pump milk.”
“Mary Pump–ins; that’s what I felt like. It was ridiculous,” she jokes, adding that she then told the director she needed time off.
“I said, ‘You’ve got to give me four or five months before I’m ready to crack on with the rehearsals, for the baby,” Blunt recalls. The downtime allowed the actress to really immerse herself in the Mary Poppins world and create her own version of the character made famous by Julie Andrews in the 1964 original.
Now as Blunt prepares for the release of the sequel on Dec. 19, she says Poppins is “a superhero” we all need.
“You could say she’s some sort of angel. She recognizes what people need, and she gives it to them, yet they discover something about themselves in the process,” she explains, adding that “I don’t think she concerns herself with what she is. There’s nobody else like her—which she quite likes.”
See Blunt as Poppins in the trailer below.