Lin-Manuel Miranda (‘Mary Poppins Returns’): Watching Rob Marshall direct ‘was film school for me’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s involvement with “Mary Poppins Returns” started over drinks between shows while he was starring in “Hamilton” on Broadway. Director Rob Marshall and his partner, producer John DeLuca, told him about their sequel to the 1964 Disney classic, with Emily Blunt taking over the title role as a magical nanny who helps a family through troubled times. “Every day since that drink has been pretty great,” he reveals. Watch our exclusive video interview with Miranda above.

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Miranda plays Jack, a lamplighter who served as an apprentice to Bert (Dick Van Dyke) from the original film. He joins Poppins in her efforts to once again teach the Banks clan — the now grownup children and their own kids — some valuable life lessons with the help of a little magic and a few catchy songs.

The actor-musician admits he wouldn’t have said yes to the film if anyone other than Marshall were directing it. “Rob is one of the best people making movie musicals today,” Miranda says. “I think ‘Chicago’ is the gold standard when it comes to adapting a stage musical to screen.” So this was more than just an opportunity to play a great part. “This was film school for me. I said, I don’t know how a sequel to ‘Mary Poppins’ is going to play, but I’m going to learn so much watching Rob Marshall direct, and I did.”

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Miranda won Tonys for “In the Heights” (Best Score in 2008) and “Hamilton” (Best Book of a Musical and Best Score in 2016), and both shows brought him Grammys for Best Musical Theater Album. He received a third Grammy for penning “How Far I’ll Go” from the film “Moana” (2016), which also earned him an Academy Award bid for Best Original Song. And he took home an Emmy for Best Music and Lyrics in 2014 for the song “Bigger!” from the 67th Tony Awards telecast.

That means he’s just an Oscar away from achieving EGOT status. On top of all that he won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for “Hamilton,” and that lauded show will be feted at the Kennedy Center Honors this weekend during a ceremony that will air on CBS on December 26. So in a few months time maybe he will have achieved PKEGOT status.

The original “Mary Poppins” was an Oscar juggernaut, contending in 13 categories including Best Picture. It won five of those bids, including Best Actress for Julie Andrews. Will the sequel recapture that awards magic? “Mary Poppins Returns” arrives in theaters on December 19.

Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.

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