Saving Mr. Banks may just be the most charming and inspiring movie you see this year, telling the story of how the story of Mary Poppins was transformed into a Disney movie and the real-life people behind the 1964 animated and live action marvel.
Emma Thompson Brings 'Mary Poppins' Author P.L Travers To Life.
With such a lot of different works referenced, getting the go-ahead for Saving Mr. Banks could have been a minefield but it looks like a few fairies cast their magic upon the movie makers, meaning that getting green lights was seemingly easier than expected.
When Australian producer Ian Collie brought her the screenplay, British producer Allison Owen was initially nervous about getting the ball rolling for such a challenging project. "The good news is that I could see there was a great story there waiting to get out, but the bad news was that telling the story was problematic because of the amount of intellectual property rights involved," she said, via THR.
However, Owens needn't have worried: Disney embraced Saving Mr. Banks with Disney CEO Robert Iger himself having called Tom Hanks, 57, to urge him to play Walt and at one point was even said to be contemplating having Hanks appear at a Disney board meeting.
Watch The 'Saving Mr. Banks' Trailer:
After taking the initial gamble, the next step for Owens was to get the blessing of the Sherman brothers, Richard and Robert, who wrote the sing-along songs for the 1964 film Mary Poppins. Though Robert has died in March 2012, Richard received the script and became a big supporter of the movie.
When the team went to meet Richard, Owens remembered "it was very emotional. He was crying. He really had had a hard time with Travers - she made things very painful for him and Bob. But he said having read the script, he could sort of finally let it go. He was so sad that he hadn't known that she'd had that childhood. He felt if only he'd known, he could have helped her."
Incredibly, not only the studios and the songwriter was on board but studio chairman Alan Horn even managed to secure the blessing of Diane Disney Miller, Walt's sole surviving child, before filming got underway. In the movie, Hanks and Thompson take the reigns as Walt Disney, the founder of Walt Disney Studios and P. L Travers, the author who wrote the Mary Poppins series of children's books.
Hanks Plays The Disney Founder Tasked With Persuading Travers To Share Her Story.
Set in 1961, the movie centres on the deal-making between Disney and Travers as the former tries to persuade the latter to give up the film rights to her work so that Disney can adapt the story into a film. However, Travers' aversion to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood doesn't help with negotiations as she initially resists songs, animation and use of the colour red. When Disney finally begins to understand the autobiographical content of Travers' writing, such as the father (Mr. Banks) being based on Travers' own, they get to know each other a little better and bond.
Directed by John Lee Hancock, the heart-warming story is adapted from real life and embellished with stand-out talent from the two leads. Saving Mr. Banks is already tipped for the Oscars, with Thompson having already garnered a Golden Globe nomination for her prickly role.
Saving Mr. Banks is released in cinemas now, with wider release from the 20th December.