Mary Poppins Returns, in a nod to the original, incorporated both live-action and animated sequences in the film. However, the most mystical-seeming scene (you know, that bathtub scene) turned out to one of the real stunts that Emily Blunt performed seamlessly, in a new clip released by Disney.
In the film, while Poppins gives the young Banks children a bath, they all start slowly vanishing under the bubbles to begin the musical number “Can You Imagine That.” As the nanny looks into the camera and slides backwards into the tub and underwater, we had assumed it had to be CGI effects at work for the fantasy scene. According to a newly released behind-the-scenes video, Blunt completed the stunt by sliding down a steep slide that went underneath the soundstage.
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During a Q&A session for the film with director Rob Marshall, Blunt revealed more details about how the bathtub stunt came to be.
“Rob, and everyone involved, was very insistent that as much as possible we built practical sets that we could very much interact with and be a part of,” Blunt says. “So what they did with this bath, which the kids thought was the best thing ever, was that they actually carved a hole in the bottom of the bath and had a slide that went under the stage. But it was a drop! It was fast and steep. Then they filled it up with bubbles so you just went down the slide.”
Being that it was a movie, the actors had to perform the stunt over and over again to capture the magic on screen. Blunt revealed the children (Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, and Joel Dawson) had fun on set with the giant slide.
“They must’ve done it 20 times, the kids were like, ‘Can we do it again?’ They loved it,” Blunt continues. “I was quite scared. My stunt girl did it before me and said as long as you [fold enough] you won’t concuss yourself. So the kids did theirs 20 times, I think I did it twice and then said, ‘Have you got it? Is that it?’”
With that logic, that means the other objects the nanny tossed down the tub—a rubber duck, a model boat, and an umbrella—also went down the slide, presumably with a crew member to catch it on the other side.
Now we can all share in Mary Poppins’ magic.