Tom Hanks May Play Walt Disney in Mary Poppins Film ‘Saving Mr. Banks’

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 8:48 pm,

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.

Source: Variety

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  1. I think it’s a great idea. Sounds awesome!

  2. sounds stupid, I rather watch the April fools movie “Walt”

  3. That would make two movies starting with “Saving…” that Tom Hanks would do… I sort of think that’s funny. Don’t mind me.

  4. Hm, not overly impressed with the writer of the script; Tera Nova was extremely disappointing. However, with the cast they already have, this could be a good movie. I’ll wait to hear more.


  6. Whats wrong with Tom Hanks playing Walt Disney? He’s a versatile actor, he can pull it off. Lets not start the booing and nay-saying yet people. Give it a chance, we might be surprised.

  7. Waaaaiiiit a minute…
    So, this is a fictional movie about the making of a fictional movie!?
    Has there ever been something like this?
    Pretty weird IMO.

    • Isn’t that basically what Finding Neverland was?

    • It’s certainly been done before, Avenger. Tim Burton’s Ed Wood (Plan 9 From Outer Space), Shadow Of The Vampire (Nosferatu), RKO 281 (Citizen Kane), and The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers recreated the making of several Sellers movies. There’s apparently one in the pipeline about the making of Psycho, with Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock, James D’Arcy as Anthony Perkins, and Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh!

      • I… did not know that.
        Thanks for the info.

      • Your’re right about Hopkins as Hitchcock for Psycho…. and I think Toby Jones is also portraying Hitchcock in a movie about incidents while making The Birds.

  8. Tom Hanks is an enormous talent, but I can see no way they can make him resemble Walt Disney. Any good actor can play someone of a hundred years ago who was not too well know to the public, but anyone as well known as Walt Disney should be portrayed by someone who looks the part. If Roy Disney were an actor he would fit the part

    • Roy Disney would also still have to be alive… he died in 2009

      • Nice.

  9. love the “spoon full of sugar” comment at the end. fantastically appropriate hahaha

  10. Ryan Gosling one would of been better, even tho it was fake

  11. You never know. He did save Private Ryan