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Tom Hanks & Emma Thompson Are 'Saving Mr. Banks'

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by Kevin Jagernauth
April 9, 2012 7:51 PM
5 Comments
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When Disney snatched up the Black List script "Saving Mr. Banks" back in February, not only was it one of the hottest buys of the year so far, there was added oomph by the fact the studio was already looking to cast Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep for the lead roles. And hell, landing one out of two ain't bad...

Variety reports that talks are now underway for Hanks and Emma Thompson to star in the movie about a movie. Penned by rising writer Kelly Marcel (who penned the pilot of "Terra Nova," did an extensive, uncredited rewrite on "Bronson" and has "Valerio" brewing with James Marsh) the script 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. And as you can probably deduce, Hanks would play Walt with Thompson as Travers, and it would mark the first time these two actors have worked together.

John Lee Hancock ("The Blind Side") is slated to direct the film, which may still have to wait a bit for Hanks' schedule to clear up as he's got Paul Greengrass' "Captain Phillips" on deck next. But when Hanks says he'll play Walt Disney, you wait. 

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5 Comments

  • Rob | April 13, 2012 10:59 AMReply

    JCS is completly right! Don't get me wrong, I love the orginal books and I love the movie as well as the stage musical, BUT they couldn't be different enough!!! P.L. Travers' orginal Mary Poppins is much more like Nanny McPhee and not an "angel type" like Julie Andrews did play. I can understand both, the Sherman Brothers as well as the original author, 'cause it's totally subjective. These are two completly different Mary Poppins. This screenplay is full of false information! Travers hated the movie and the Sherman Brothers hated to work with her because she hated everthing they had in mind (which was not that bad I think, but just not true to the original books...). This movie will be a lie. A big, big lie, but sadly everyone will believe it I guess... Anyway, I'm the biggest Mary Poppins fan in the world, so it's interesting as well.

    Love & Piece

  • JCS | April 11, 2012 2:41 PMReply

    In my haste to paste this, I left in some typos. I will fix them here:

    The origins of Disney's "Mary Poppins" could have made a wonderful film. As it is, it is destined to fail. If only the screenplay had even cursorily been researched. I am the son of one of the Sherman Brothers who actually developed the original screen story and the beloved original song score from the (then) obscure and lackluster Mary Poppins chapter book by PL Travers. In the "Saving Mr. Banks" screenplay, the screenwriter twists all the facts around to make it seem that Pamela Travers "fixed" what had been "messed up" by Walt, my Dad and Uncle, Bill Walsh and Don DaGradi. None of us who know the real story of the origins of Disney's "Mary Poppins" can believe that, a) these fine actors would take part in such silly fiction and that b) Disney Studios that made the original classic film wouldn't even attempt to get the facts and characterizations right. The Sherman Brothers poured four years of their lives into creating this masterpiece and then, had to spend a few horrid days with Travers just to get her to finally sign off on the rights. She didn't "fix" anything and hated everything about the finished movie. She finally was only persuaded to sign off because she needed the money. That is the well-known truth -- not what this writer has imagined in her vacuum. Dramatic license is one thing, but marginalizing the characters and contributions of the real creative team, falsely transferring to Pam Travers the credit of coming up with "Spoonful of Sugar," "Feed the Birds," "Let's Go Fly a Kite" and other key genius creative moments to this hackneyed, pain in the butt, oddball woman is insulting. It will fall flat with anyone who does know the truth. It's not wholly surprising to me, I suppose, that Emma Thompson who quite generously "borrowed" from "Mary Poppins" with her own "Nanny McPhee" films wouldn't see that anything important about the lack of veracity in "Saving Mr. Banks." I've always respected Tom Hanks and his incredible work, though, both in front of and behind the camera. My guess is no one's told Tom that this screenplay is wildly fictitious and, I assure you, very unpopular with the relatives of those who truly instilled the heart, passion, characters and core story of the beloved film. It's truly a shame.

  • JCS | April 11, 2012 2:34 PMReply

    The origins of Disney's "Mary Poppins" could have made a wonderful film. As it is, it is destined to fail.

    If only the screenplay had even cursorily been researched. I am the son of one of the Sherman Brothers who actually developed the original screen story and the beloved original song score from the (then) obscure and lackluster Mary Poppins chapter book by PL Travers. In the "Saving Mrt. Banks" screenplay, the screenwriter twists all the facts around to make it seem that Pamela Travers "fixed" what had been "messed up" by Walt, my Dad and Uncle, Bill Walsh and Don DaGradi.

    None of us who know the real story of the origins of Disney's "Mary Poppins" can believe that, a) these fine actors would take part in such silly fiction and that b) Disney Studios that made the original classic film wouldn't even attempt to get the facts and characterizations right.

    The Sherman Brothers poured four years of their lives into creating this masterpiece and, then, only spent a few horrid days with Travers to just get her to finally sign off on the rights. She didn't fix anything and hated everything about the finished movie. She finally was only persuaded because she needed the money. That is the well-known truth -- not what this writer has imagined in her vacuum.

    Dramatic license is one thing, but marginalizing the characters and contributions of the real creative team and falsely transferring to Pam Travers the credit of coming up with "Spoonful of Sugar," "Feed the Birds," "Let's Go Fly a Kite" and other key genius creative moments of the true creative team to this hackneyed, pain in the butt, oddball woman is insulting and will fall flat with anyone who does know the truth.

    It's not wholly surprising to me, I suppose, that Emma Thompson who quite generously "borrowed" from "Mary Poppins" with her own "Nanny McPhee" films wouldn't see that anything important about the lack of veracity in "Saving Mr. Banks." I've always respected Tom Hanks and his incredible work, though, both in front of and behind the camera. My guess is no one's told Tom that this screenplay is wildly fictitious and, I assure you, very unpopular with the relatives of those who truly instilled the heart, passion, characters and core story of the beloved film.

    It's truly a shame.

  • stephen radzik | April 11, 2012 8:55 AMReply

    i wonder whose going to be playing the sherman brothers

  • padre | April 9, 2012 11:30 PMReply

    Tom Hanks just bagged his next Oscar.

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