By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com February 8, 2012 at 1:23PM
There's been a trend of late on the Black List, of scripts that, due to various rights issues, stand little chance of ever being made. Two years ago, it was topped by "The Muppet Man," a biopic of Jim Henson, which was bought by The Henson Company in order to essentially bury it, while last year "In the Loop" scribe Jesse Armstrong penned "The Murdochs," a fictional comedy drama about Rupert Murdoch's family jockey for succession when he's diagnosed with a terminal illness -- despite the mogul's recent troubles, it's unlikely it'll ever make it before cameras. Similarly, this year saw "Chewie," a take on the making of "Star Wars" seen through the eyes of Peter Mayhew who played Chewbacca, which placed highly, but has yet to be picked up by anyone.
Another script from the 2011 list looks to have jumped over such hurdles, however, as Deadline report that Disney is close to buying "Saving Mr. Banks" by rising British scribe Kelly Marcel, which tells the true story of how Walt Disney persuaded Australian author P.L. Travers to give him the rights to her most famous creation, magical nanny "Mary Poppins." Travers had been reluctant to sell the film rights, due to her personal connection to her creation but Disney eventually won her over. However, she hated the film, and in particular the animated sequences, and their relationship became estranged.
Marcel, who was script editor on "Bronson" and is the co-creator of Fox series "Terra Nova," is also penning "Valerio" for James Marsh, but this looks to really put her on the map -- the film is set up at Ruby Films ("Tamara Drewe," "Jane Eyre") and Disney, the only company who could have made the film, are about to close a deal, having been circling the project for a while.
And it seems that they're going for some prestigious talent, as Deadline report rumors that the intention is to cast Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, and Meryl Streep as P.L. Travers. And although it's clearly early days (and more than a bit wishlist-y), it sounds like they're aiming for the Oscars with this one. Disney having the script is obviously a little worrying, with the risk that it could turn into a hagiography of old Walt -- hopefully, the studio won't water down the material. No director is yet attached, but we imagine they're aiming for some big guns on this one. More news will surely follow but in the meantime, might we suggest Anne Hathaway and Bill Hader to play Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke?...