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The Bathtub Scene in 'Mary Poppins Returns' Revealed to be Not CGI

Jadzia Samuel Monday 14 January 2019

After a total of 54 years, the beloved childhood nanny Mary Poppins has returned to the silver screen to enchant audiences of all ages once again in Rob Marshall's aptly named sequel, 'Mary Poppins Returns'. Enchanting the world in (what we previously thought were) the impossible shoes of Julie Andrews, Emily Blunt starred in the role of the magical nanny, alongside Broadway-sweetheart Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Mary Poppins Returns

Although the film's storyline, songs, and many of the characters were completely original, it was laced with nods towards the 1964 film, reviving that sense of classic nostalgia which is so treasured from our childhoods. As well as scenes such as the lamplighters' big musical number (paying tribute to the chimneysweeps' song), and the scene reviving the use cartoon animation, Marshall also maintained the film's classical roots by avoiding the use of CGI wherever possible.

One such example of this use of practical effects is with the bathtub scene; while a reliance of computers is so common nowadays that you might have assumed this take to have been CGI, it has been revealed the crew actually achieved the shot by using a waterslide which was carved into the bottom of the bathtub.

The use of real props and practical effects has always been more popular with film-lovers (we only need think of the backlash that the 90s 'Star Wars' trilogy for their over-dependence on computer imagery), and this case it is no different. Fans' reactions to this exciting piece of trivia clearly show their appreciation for the more traditional filmmaking:

One fan was quick to point out that this is not Blunt's only famous encounter with a bathtub on the big screen, noting that her character in 'A Quiet Place' also had a (rather more painful) scene in the bath.

Blunt's Take

In an interview with the cast and crew, Emily Blunt explained in her own words the way in which the scene was shot. She reiterated their commitment to using more practical effects when possible, describing how they built sets that they could "interact with and be a part of". However, while the waterslide was extremely popular with the children, Blunt was apparently not such a big fan, saying, "It was a drop, I'm going to tell you. It was fast and it was steep!"

'Mary Poppins Returns' came to the screen on December 21st and is still showing in many cinemas, so you too can experience the magic.

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