Mary Poppins shocker: 'I swear a lot' admits Julie Andrews

Venice (AFP) –


Mary Poppins, cover your ears.

Hollywood legend Julie Andrews shocked the world Tuesday by confessing that she has something of a filthy mouth.

"I do swear a lot. Mr Disney found out that quickly," the veteran actress revealed when a flywire she had been hoisted up on on the set of "Mary Poppins" broke sending her crashing to the ground "like a ton of bricks.

"I think I said a few words he (Walt Disney) had not heard very often," she added.

Andrews, now 83, but looking and sounding decades younger, insisted that she was "never a goodie two shoes" as she picked up a lifetime achievement award at the Venice film festival.

Although she made her name and won an Oscar playing the prim English governess in the 1964 Disney classic, Andrews said that like her, the character had a hidden and far more mischievous inner life.

"On the outside she is very proper... but look at the lining of her jackets and her skirts -- they are very colourful and wicked.

"She had another secret personality that was a little more playful," she said.

- 'Too saccharine' -

Andrews' butter-wouldn't-melt image was further reinforced when she played Maria von Trapp, the novice nun who becomes a governess in "The Sound of Music" the following year.

But the actress admitted that she had found the story too schmaltzy when she saw the musical version of it on Broadway.

"I thought it was too sentimental and saccharine and over the top. I mean, you have mountains and nuns and seven children, but all together!" she told reporters.

"So I decided with the director Robert Wise that we would try to be as astringent as we possibly could. I think it made a big difference.

"It is still a sweet and loving film, but we saved it from being too saccharine," she said.

Andrew also disclosed that she was knocked flat several times during the shooting of the movie's iconic opening aerial panorama in a mountain meadow.

She was repeatedly tossed over by the down-draft from the helicopter on which the camera was mounted, Andrews said.

"All I had to do was run towards the camera and start singing," but each time she would end up "eating grass and dirt".

- Gay icon -

Her abiding memories of the filming are the cold and the rain. "It was so beautiful there in Salzburg (in Austria) but it rained, rained, rained."

Andrews -- who has started directing in her eighties -- also paid tribute to her late husband, the director Blake Edwards.

He wrote both "Victor Victoria" -- now regarded as a LGBT classic on a par with "La Cage aux Folles" -- and "S.O.B" for her, a film industry satire in which she plays a family-friendly star who ends up in a porn flick.

She said the man behind the "Pink Panther" films and "10" "really knew me. He was so clever."

As well as her sometimes potty mouth in private, Andrews said her other big fault was that she was a terrible cook.

Yet Andrews said that the upbeat message of her best films were very much a reflection of her.

"I am very much a glass-half-full person," she said.

And just like Mary Poppins, the only thing that gets her riled is when someone shows "a lack of thought or consideration for other people."