Emily Blunt says it was ''so gracious'' of Dame Julie Andrews to let her make Mary Poppins her own.

The 'Devil Wears Prada' actress was ''scared'' about taking on the iconic role of the nanny in 2018's critically-acclaimed sequel, 'Mary Poppins Returns', and is grateful to the star of the original 1964 musical for stepping back and allowing her to work her own magic in the role.

She said: ''I really understand why she (Andrews) didn't want to be in it and it means a lot to me that she chose to not do it in the way that she did.

''She said she just didn't want it to be her show, she wanted it to be my show, and I thought it was so gracious and so sweet and I understand that need to preserve and treasure that iconic image we all have of her. I really get that.''

Emily also revealed that the 'Sound of Music' actress sent her and the movie's director, Rob Marshall, an email to give her seal of approval.

She recalled: ''She wrote Rob Marshall the most beautiful email about it and loved it, so that meant a lot to all of us.''

Emily studied the books the character is based on by PL Travers for her research and based her alter-ego on the ''terribly eccentric'' and ''very rude'' traits of the nanny in his book series.

She said: ''I just wanted to do my own version of her and, in the books, she is rather different and terribly eccentric and funny and very rude and very mysterious and unknowable really.

''I love PL Travers and I read everything I could about her. She kind of is Mary Poppins - it's like an autobiography.

''Mary Poppins is a little bit frightening but that is how she is able to bring order to chaos.''