“Saving Mr. Banks” Walt Disney’s Pursuit of “Mary Poppins” Opens December 2013

Two-time Academy Award–winner Emma Thompson and fellow double Oscar-winner Tom Hanks topline Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks,” inspired by the extraordinary, untold backstory of how Disney’s classic “Mary Poppins” made it to the screen.  In the film, Tom Hanks plays the role of Walt Disney, and Emma Thompson has been cast as “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers.  Inspired by true events, “Saving Mr. Banks” is the extraordinary, untold story of how Disney’s classic “Mary Poppins” made it to the screen—and the testy relationship that the legendary Walt Disney had with author P.L. Travers that almost derailed it.  Continue reading for all the photos, trailers and news of “Saving Mr. Banks” from Walt Disney Studios.

SAVING MR. BANKS

Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) shows Disneyland to “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) in Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks,” releasing in U.S. theaters limited on December 13, 2013 and wide on December 20, 2013. Photo by, François Duhamel ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Update December 12, 2013

Three Practically Perfect video featurettes released for “Saving Mr. Banks” including a chat with Tom Hanks, the music, and the story.



Update December 11, 2013

Walt Disney Studios released a FREE iBook with behind-the-scenes footage on the creation of “Saving Mr. Banks” as well as archival material on the making of “Mary Poppins.  Click here to download the iBook.

SAVING MR. BANKS

Update December 11, 2013

Composer Richard Sherman and cast talk about his role as consultant for “Saving Mr. Banks” as well as writing the music for “Mary Poppins” with his brother Robert.  Click here to read “Disney’s Treasured Composer Richard Sherman on SAVING MR. BANKS”

Richard Sherman and John Lasseter

Musical consultant/composer Richard Sherman (L) of “Saving Mr. Banks” and Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios John Lasseter at the 2013 Disney’s D23 Expo. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage

 

Update July 24, 2013

Official poster released for “Saving Mr. Banks” – I love the shadows cast by Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson).

SAVINGS MR. BANKS

Update July 11, 2013

First trailer and image released for “Saving Mr. Banks.”

“Responstables is Not a Word” – P.L Travers

“We know, we made it up” – Sherman Bros.

“Well. Then unmake it up” – P.L.

Original post from September 19, 2012 follows below

From Walt Disney Studios Press Release

Los Angeles, CA – Disney began production today on “Saving Mr. Banks,” the account of Walt Disney’s twenty-year pursuit of the film rights to P.L. Travers’ popular novel, Mary Poppins, and the testy partnership the upbeat filmmaker develops with the uptight author during the project’s pre-production in 1961.

Two-time Academy Award®-winner Tom Hanks (“Philadelphia,” “Forrest Gump”) will essay the role of the legendary Disney (the first time the entrepreneur has ever been depicted in a dramatic film) alongside fellow double Oscar®-winner Emma Thompson (“Howard’s End,” “Sense and Sensibility”) in the role of the prickly novelist.  Before actually signing away the book’s rights, Travers’ demands for contractual script and character control circumvent not only Disney’s vision for the film adaptation, but also those of the creative team of screenwriter Don DaGradi and sibling composers Richard and Robert Sherman, whose original score and song (Chim-Chim-Cher-ee) would go on to win Oscars® at the 1965 ceremonies (the film won five awards of its thirteen nominations).

(L-R) Robert B. Sherman, Richard M. Sherman and Walt Disney © Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

 

When Travers travels from London to Hollywood in 1961 to finally discuss Disney’s desire to bring her beloved character to the motion picture screen (a quest he began in the 1940s as a promise to his two daughters), Disney meets a prim, uncompromising sexagenarian not only suspect of the impresario’s concept for the film, but a woman struggling with her own past.  During her stay in California, Travers’ reflects back on her childhood in 1906 Australia, a trying time for her family which not only molded her aspirations to write, but one that also inspired the characters in her 1934 book.

None more so than the one person whom she loved and admired more than any other—her caring father, Travers Goff, a tormented banker who, before his untimely death that same year, instills the youngster with both affection and enlightenment (and would be the muse for the story’s patriarch, Mr. Banks, the sole character that the famous nanny comes to aide).  While reluctant to grant Disney the film rights, Travers comes to realize that the acclaimed Hollywood storyteller has his own motives for wanting to make the film—which, like the author, hints at the relationship he shared with his own father in the early 20th Century Midwest.

Mary Poppins the Broadway Musical ©Disney/CML

 

Colin Farrell (“Minority Report,” “Total Recall”) co-stars as Travers’ doting dad, Goff, along with British actress Ruth Wilson (the forthcoming films “The Lone Ranger” and “Anna Karenina”) as his long-suffering wife, Margaret; Oscar® and Emmy® nominee Rachel Griffiths (“Six Feet Under,” “Hilary and Jackie,” “The Rookie”) as Margaret’s sister, Aunt Ellie (who inspired the title character of Travers’ novel); and a screen newcomer—11-year-old Aussie native Annie Buckley as the young, blossoming writer, nicknamed “Ginty” in the flashback sequences.

The cast also includes Emmy® winner Bradley Whitford (“The West Wing,” “The Cabin in the Woods”) as screenwriter Don DaGradi; Jason Schwartzman (“Rushmore,” “Moonrise Kingdom”) and B.J. Novak (“NBC’s “The Office,” “Inglourious Basterds”) as the songwriting Sherman Brothers (Richard and Robert, respectively); Oscar® nominee and Emmy winner Paul Giamatti (“Sideways,” “Cinderella Man,” HBO’s “John Adams”) as Ralph, the kindly limousine driver who escorts Travers during her two-week stay in Hollywood; and multi-Emmy winner Kathy Baker (“Picket Fences,” “Edward Scissorhands”) as Tommie, one of Disney’s trusted studio associates.

Performers in the role of Mary Poppins float inside the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. Photo by Laurence Griffiths; Getty Images

 

“Saving Mr. Banks” will be directed by John Lee Hancock (“The Blind Side,” “The Rookie”) based on a screenplay by Kelly Marcel (creator of FOX-TV’s “Terra Nova”), from a story by Sue Smith (“Brides of Christ,” “Bastard Boys”) and Kelly Marcel. The film is being produced by Alison Owen of Ruby Films (the Oscar®-nominated “Elizabeth,” HBO’s Emmy®-winning “Temple Grandin”), Ian Collie of Essential Media (the Aussie TV documentary “The Shadow of Mary Poppins,” DirecTV’s “Rake”) and longtime Hancock collaborator Philip Steuer (“The Rookie,” “The Chronicles of Narnia” trilogy).  The film’s executive producers are Ruby Films’ Paul Trijbits (“Lay the Favorite,” “Jane Eyre”), Hopscotch Features’ Andrew Mason (“The Matrix” trilogy, “Dark City”) and Troy Lum (“Mao’s Last Dancer,” “I, Frankenstein”) and BBC Films’ Christine Langan (Oscar® nominee for “The Queen,” “We Need to Talk About Kevin”).

Hancock’s filmmaking team includes a trio of artists with whom he worked on his 2009 Best Picture Oscar® nominee, “The Blind Side”—two-time Oscar® nominated production designer Michael Corenblith (“How The Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Apollo 13”), Emmy®-winning costume designer Daniel Orlandi (HBO’s “Game Change,” “Frost/Nixon”) and film editor Mark Livolsi, A.C.E. (“Wedding Crashers” “The Devil Wears Prada”).  Hancock also reunites with Academy Award®-nominated cinematographer John Schwartzman (“Seabiscuit,” “Pearl Harbor”), with whom he first worked on his inspiring 2002 sports drama, “The Rookie.”

“Saving Mr. Banks” will film entirely in the Los Angeles area, with key locations to include Disneyland in Anaheim and the Disney Studios in Burbank.  Filming will conclude around Thanksgiving, 2012, with no specific 2013 release date yet set.

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About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.