There was a fun April Fools’ story about Ryan Gosling playing Walt Disney in a new biopic that made the rounds last week. However, it turns out the legendary animator/entrepreneur will indeed be brought to life on the big screen in an upcoming project – one based on the true story behind the making of Disney’s famous Mary Poppins musical adaptation, titled Saving Mr. Banks.
Walt Disney Pictures is backing the project, which could potentially feature the one-two acting punch of Tom Hanks as Walt himself – and fellow multiple Oscar-winner Emma Thompson (who next appears onscreen in Men in Black III) as P.L. Travers, the author of the original Mary Poppins novel.
According to Variety (which broke the story), Saving Mr. Banks will chronicle Walt’s attempts to convince Travers to give him the screen rights to Mary Poppins, which took some fourteen years to accomplish. While those efforts eventually culminated in Disney’s widely-beloved 1964 adaptation, Travers was ultimately not among the film’s fans – citing the animated sequences as being especially disappointing.
When you think about it, having Hanks play an older Walt Disney opposite Thompson as Travers reads as being pretty pitch-perfect casting. Of course, given that the Mouse House is backing this flick, Saving Mr. Banks will likely be a somewhat romanticized picture that plays relatively fast and loose with its true story subject matter (a la Finding Neverland) – rather than a pure docudrama that just sticks with the facts about how a classic work was made.
For more evidence of that, you need look no further than Saving Mr. Banks director John Lee Hancock’s resume, which includes heart string-tugging “based on real events” films like The Rookie and the Best Picture-nominated The Blind Side. Hancock will be working here from a screenplay penned by Kelly Marcel, the co-creator of the recently-canceled Terra Nova sci-fi TV series (make of that what you will).
With all that said: there’s no reason why Saving Mr. Banks cannot be a good movie, as the personnel attached to the project have all done quality work in the past (to say nothing of the potential leads). It’s just best to keep in mind what sort of semi-Walt Disney biopic this film is probably going to be – so all you readers out there have a better idea as to whether or not this movie sounds like your cup of tea (or spoonful of sugar).
We here at Screen Rant will be sure to keep you posted on the status of Saving Mr. Banks as the story develops.