The ‘Mary Poppins Return’s star took on the iconic role of P.L. Travers’ magical nanny – which was made famous by Julie Andrews in the original 1964 classic – and having the 93-year-old star for the climatic moment of the sequel was an emotional experience.
She told The Wrap’s Oscars Nomination Preview issue: "We all just sat around Dick Van Dyke and wanted him to tell us stories of his whole career. "Which he did, and he’d break into song all the time. It was just so terribly moving.
"And there was a weird moment when he finished the monologue and gave the Banks family their house back. He just sort of looked up at me with those blue eyes, and I thought, ‘Holy s**t, I’m Mary Poppins!’ "
Van Dyke’s emotional cameo saw him climb onto a desk in the bank for a song and dance number, and there was an amazing feeling on set.
Emily added: "It was so gorgeous to be around him, and he’s so sprightly and full of life and energy and sparkle.
"I mean, Lin and I were there to assist him onto the desk where he’s supposed to do a tap dance, and he just waved us away and didn’t need any help. I don’t think [director Rob Marshall ] could even say cut, he was so emotional."
The filmmaker agreed, and admitted it was a stunning moment when it all came together.
He said: "She’s right. He is one of my heroes, and he did a beautiful monologue where he talks about Michael as a young boy and the tuppence and all of that.
"So there he is, Dick Van Dyke, and he’s 91 years old [at the time] , and he’s talking about things from the first film and doing it so beautifully. I have ‘Feed the Birds’ in my ear, which we use as underscore.
"And so I’m hearing ‘Feed the Birds,’ I’m seeing Dick Van Dyke deliver this extraordinary speech, and I just lost it. Emily heard me not say cut and she knew. I couldn’t speak, it was so moving to me."