Meryl Streep faked falling on ‘Mary Poppins’ set, caused panic, Lin-Manuel Miranda says

Meryl Streep appears in "Mary Poppins Returns" as the wacky Cousin Topsy. (Photo: Ian Gavan, Getty Images for Disney)

Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast and crew of “Mary Poppins Returns” originally worried about Dick Van Dyke falling on the movie set – in one scene, the 93-year-old had a tap routine on top of a desk. But it was another co-star who ended up giving them a scare. 

Meryl Streep, who makes an appearance as the wacky Cousin Topsy, apparently caused panic on set while showing off her acting chops. 

“At one point she turned to the kids – this is between takes, not a rehearsal – and she goes, ‘Hey kids, want to see a perfect pratfall?’ ” Miranda recalled Thursday on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”

In a flash, he said, she instantly went from standing upright to falling flat on her face: “like, Chevy Chase, 1975 pratfall.” 

“Everyone runs over (thinking) ‘Meryl Streep has died on our set,’ ” he continued. “And she gets up, (brushes herself off and says) ‘I learned that at Yale School of Drama.’ It was the coolest thing ever.” 

Miranda also detailed his awe over Van Dyke, who starred in the original film as both Bert and Mr. Dawes Jr. (while wearing a bunch of old-age makeup). He returned in the sequel to play Mr. Dawes Sr., but this time around, he didn’t need very much makeup.

According to Miranda, he’s just as energetic as always.

“He’s got the glint in his eye that he’s had his entire career,” Miranda said. “They asked a lot of him. He has a tap solo on top of a desk. And I remember the week before, we had contingency plans of, like, ‘if he can’t get up on the desk, maybe you get under his leg. Emily, you’re spotting – if Dick Van Dyke falls, he’s falling on either Emily Blunt or Lin Miranda. We are not letting that guy fall. That is precious cargo.’ “

But Van Dyke didn’t need a plan B. 

“He came in and he was just human caffeine,” Miranda said. “He was like, ‘Lin, I was 30 (years old) and playing 90; now I’m 90 and I’m playing 80!’ “

Miranda said he offered Van Dyke a hand getting up on the desk while the cast rehearsed his dance number – but Van Dyke took “one deep lunge” and hopped up before busting a move. 

Check out the full interview clip below: 


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