Playing Mary Poppins is helping Emily Blunt overcome her fears

By Maura Hohman
November 19, 2018 10:15 AM

Playing Mary Poppins is helping Emily Blunt overcome her fears.

The 35-year-old mom of two appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Monday, to promote her new movie, which hits theaters before Christmas, and the main topic of conversation was the actress’ singing for the titular character, originally portrayed by Julie Andrews.

“I hear you have a fear of singing in front of people,” the comedian told her guest, who responded, “Well, I do. I still think it’s not a natural thing for me. I find it very nerve-racking to sing in front of people, for sure.”

Emily Blunt and the Backstreet Boys
| Credit: Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

Then DeGeneres pointed to a microphone and encouraged Blunt to take the stage, explaining that the cheering audience specifically requested the Brit sing for them.

“Don’t look at me like that! Oh my God, guys!” the star squealed before getting to her feet.

Next the host recommended she sing something everyone knows, and when Blunt complained of feeling too “exposed” on stage alone, DeGeneres asked, “What if we had the Backstreet Boys sing with you?”

Emily Blunt and the Backstreet Boys
| Credit: Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

And of course, the beloved boy band magically appeared. Blunt backed up the Backstreet Boys briefly before singing solo for a line, prompting her to yell at Nick Carter, “You left me alone!” He yelled back, “That was your part! That’s your part!”

Blunt sings quite a bit, though admittedly not live, to bring the iconic, magical nanny to life.

A new teaser for the film released last week shows it will be packed with music and dancing from both Blunt and her costar Lin-Manual Miranda, who portrays Jack, an optimistic street lamp lighter.

Emily Blunt
| Credit: Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

Earlier this year, Blunt discussed what makes her take on the famous nanny different, telling PEOPLE’s editor-in-chief Jess Cagle, “My perception of her in the books is that she is batty, eccentric, hilarious and incredibly rude and vain… I like that idea that she sweeps in and takes it all over and makes everything great.”

RELATED VIDEO: Emily Blunt Says Her Version of Mary Poppins Is ‘Hilarious and Incredibly Rude’

“Really this is my version of her,” she added. “I did not watch the original during the process of making it. I had seen it as a kid but I didn’t watch the details of it all because I had to do my version of her.”

Mary Poppins Returns hits theaters on Dec. 19.