While that biography poster of Walt Disney turned out to be an Internet meme, Saving Mr. Banks might be the next best thing. Showcasing the untold story of the making of Disney’s classic Mary Poppins, this is one for lovers of classic Disney and P.L. Travers alike. Tom Hanks as Walt Disney: it just seems so obvious now!
This site has long had a love for the films Walt Disney personally oversaw during his lifetime, and this glimpse into 1961 – a year in which 101 Dalmatians, The Absent Minded Professor and The Parent Trap were also released – will be a joy to see. There’s also an Australian connection: Travers (born Helen Lyndon Goff) was born in Maryborough, Queensland, before moving around Australia where she gained a reputation under her stage name “Pamela Lyndon Travers”. When she settled in Sussex, England in 1933, she began writing Mary Poppins.
Saving Mr. Banks will be released in Australia on 4 February 2014 from Disney.
Two-time Academy Award®–winner Emma Thompson and fellow double Oscar®-winner Tom Hanks headline Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks,” inspired by the extraordinary, untold backstory of how Disney’s classic “Mary Poppins” made it to the screen.
When Walt Disney’s daughters begged him to make a movie of their favourite book, P.L. Travers’ “Mary Poppins,” he made them a promise—one that he didn’t realise would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine. But, as the books stop selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney’s plans for the adaptation.
For those two short weeks in 1961, Walt Disney pulls out all the stops. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman brothers, Walt launches an all-out onslaught on P.L. Travers, but the prickly author doesn’t budge. He soon begins to watch helplessly as Travers becomes increasingly immovable and the rights begin to move further away from his grasp.
It is only when he reaches into his own childhood that Walt discovers the truth about the ghosts that haunt her, and together they set Mary Poppins free to ultimately make one of the most endearing films in cinematic history.
Disney presents “Saving Mr. Banks,” directed by John Lee Hancock, produced by Alison Owen, Ian Collie and Philip Steuer, and written by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith. Executive producers are Paul Trijbits, Andrew Mason, Troy Lum and Christine Langan.