Dick Van Dyke‘s chimney-sweep dance is one of the most memorable parts of Mary Poppins — and he steals the show in the sequel, too!
The legendary 93-year-old actor dusted off his dancing shoes for Mary Poppins Returns, a sequel taking place 25 years after the original story’s ending. With Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda in charge of carrying the movie this time, Van Dyke makes a poignant cameo in which he reminds the audience all about the magic of the first movie.
“The minute I heard I was going to do a little number, that sold me,” Van Dyke tells PEOPLE in the latest issue out Friday. “And I thought I could contribute by just being a little bit of a reminder of the original. And I think it turned out well. I got to jump up on a desk and do a dance number. It surprised everybody, but nobody was as surprised as I was. We did several takes of it, and I was just amazed. And I enjoyed it, of course.”
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While Van Dyke is now happy about his small cameo, the actor admits that he originally wasn’t convinced by the idea of a sequel 54 years after Julie Andrews first floated down onto Cherry Tree Lane. But he quickly changed his mind.
“I had some misgivings, because almost traditionally sequels don’t work. They’re never quite as good as the original,” he says. “[But] This is an homage to Walt and the original movie. I was so impressed that their heart was in the right place. They wanted to pay respect to the original. And I was so tickled when they asked me, because it was kind of like bookends for me.”
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In the end, the longtime actor knows that Mary Poppins will play as special of a part in his legacy as it has played in his life.
“I would imagine it would be the thing I would be remembered for,” Van Dyke says of Poppins. “I get a lot of mail today from kids who have just discovered Mary Poppins. So it’s on its third generation and holding up very well. I’m sure that if I’m remembered for anything it’ll be Mary Poppins.”
Mary Poppins Returns opens Dec. 21.
Go inside Mary Poppins Returns with People’s The Practically Perfect Guide to Mary Poppins special edition, including exclusive photos and interviews with Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Meryl Streep & many more, available on Amazon and on stands now
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