Disney’s tale of how Walt Disney convinced author P.L. Travers to let him turn her Mary Poppins tome into a film is at the heart of Saving Mr. Banks, which is already garnering awards chatter. At its core, alongside Emma Thompson as Travers, is Tom Hanks as Unkie Walt himself, and a new featurette explores why he was cast (you know, aside from the whole really famous Oscar winner thing) and what he thought he needed to bring to the performance.
The quest to make Poppins a cinematic reality was not an easy one. Travers was far from sold on the idea, and told anyone who asked in no uncertain terms what she thought of it. Disney launched a charm offensive (which - as far as Travers was concerned - had the emphasis on "offensive"), flying her to California to meet him and tour Disneyland and introducing the author to the various creative folk who would be bringing her characters to life. It’s only as he dug deeper beneath her resistance that he discovered the very personal reasons why Travers wanted to hold on to her beloved tales.
As Hanks himself admits in this footage, he doesn’t look much like Disney, and even growing face-fuzz wasn’t going to make him the spitting image. Instead, he looked for the soul of Disney and the sparkle in his eyes. From all reports, he’s done a fine job.
With Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, B.J. Novak, Rachel Griffiths and Kathy Baker also among the cast, Saving Mr. Banks is out on November 29.