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Dick Van Dyke straight-up bribed Walt Disney to play the old banker in Mary Poppins

Screenshot: Mary Poppins

Dick Van Dyke, the 92-year old silver screen veteran, is (sorta) reprising his Mary Poppins role in the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns. Not that of chimney sweep Bert, mind you, but of Mr. Dawes, the old banker at the Fidelity Fiduciary Bank that Van Dyke also played. Mary Poppins Returns takes place years after the original, so Van Dyke will be playing Dawes’ son who, surprise, grew up to look a lot like his dear old dad.

“I said to them, ‘Do you know you’re making up a 91-year old man to look like a 91-year old man?’” Van Dyke adorably cracked to Lin-Manuel Miranda in an interview on Mary Poppins Returns: Behind the Magic, a 20/20 special airing this Thursday.


What’s especially interesting about the interview, however, is Van Dyke’s reveal that Walt Disney wasn’t all that keen on the actor playing two roles in the film. According to Van Dyke, he actively lobbied Disney for the role, saying that he’d do it for nothing. “Actually,” he added, “I had to give him $4,000 dollars. I had to pay him to do the part...and I’d do it again.

Van Dyke doesn’t elaborate on the details of the payment, nor why he was so eager to dress up like an old man. His passion cost him a pretty penny, too; $4,000 might not sound like much in today’s dollars, but a quick run through the inflation calculator tells us that $4,000 in 1964 equals out to, brace for it, $32,630.32 in 2018.


But, hey, he doesn’t seem to mind, nor do we. Revisit his delightful performance below.

Miranda and Van Dyke join Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns, which also features a veritable slew of fancy British people, from Angela Lansbury to Colin Firth to Emily Mortimer. A magic umbrella will plop it into a theater near you on December 19.


[via The Hollywood Reporter]

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Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.