Saving-Mr.-Banks-Teaser-PosterIt looks like Tom Hanks will be bookending this year’s BFI London Film Festival, with Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips recently announced to open the festivities at the start of the month, and now John Lee Hancock’s Saving Mr. Banks has been set to close the event in two months’ time.

Both films are hugely anticipated, and equally high-profile, making for excellent choices from the festival curators to open and close the proceedings.

Inspired by true events, “Saving Mr. Banks” is the extraordinary, untold story of how Disney’s classic “Mary Poppins” made it to the screen—and the testy relationship that the legendary Walt Disney had with author P.L. Travers that almost derailed it.

Hanks brings the iconic figure of Walt Disney to the big screen, with Emma Thompson starring opposite as P.L. Travers, the author behind Mary Poppins. And starring alongside the two is a terrific cast, led by Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, Colin Farrell, Ruth Wilson, B.J. Novak, Rachel Griffiths, and Kathy Baker.

Hancock (The Blind Side) is directing from a script co-written by Kelly Marcel (Terra Nova, Fifty Shades of Grey) and Sue Smith.

The 57th BFI London Film Festival will run from 9th – 20th October, with the full line-up set to be unveiled on 4th September.

Saving Mr. Banks is due to be released on December 20th in the US, in the height of the Oscar season, and will arrive in the UK a few weeks later on 17th January.


The 57th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express is delighted to announce that this year’s Festival will close on Sunday 20 October at the Odeon Leicester Square with the European Premiere of Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, the extraordinary untold story of how one of the most beloved tales of all time, Mary Poppins, was brought to the big screen.

Saving Mr. Banks is directed by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side) and stars two-time Academy Award-winner Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility, The Remains of the Day, Howards End) as the London-based author of Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers, and fellow double Oscar-winner Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump, Philadelphia) as Walt Disney.

They lead a stellar international supporting cast including Colin Farrell (In Bruges), Paul Giamatti (Sideways) and Ruth Wilson (Luther). The film boasts a number of other British filmmaking talents including producer Alison Owen (Jane Eyre, Elizabeth) and co-writer Kelly Marcel (who is writing the screenplay for the forthcoming Fifty Shades of Grey) with production companies Ruby Films and BBC Films.

John Lee Hancock, Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks are all expected to attend the Closing Night Gala.

Clare Stewart, BFI Head of Exhibition and Festival Director says:

There is only one word that gives full expression to the inventiveness and creativity of the film that will be our Closing Night Gala for the 57th BFI London Film Festival – Saving Mr. Banks is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Positively overflowing with its ebullient love of storytelling and the filmmaking process, Saving Mr. Banks is also a magical ode to the brilliance and volatility of the two very different creative forces behind the making of Mary Poppins, with Emma Thompson superb as the protective author P.L. Travers and Tom Hanks in charming form as Walt Disney.

Producer Alison Owen adds:

Saving Mr. Banks is very much about British manners versus American values, as Pamela Travers and Walt Disney battle over the rights to Mary Poppins, so it feels absolutely fitting that the LFF Closing Night should be our European Premiere, and we feel very honoured. We hope Pamela Travers would approve wholeheartedly. We filmed the London sequences in the street where Pamela lived, and London was both the start of the journey for Mary Poppins and for our movie, so we feel like we’re beginning in the right place.

Saving Mr. Banks is a poignant, sharply funny and moving story of personal journey and discovery, which reveals how P.L. Travers’ emotional connection to her characters and exhaustive apprehension to Walt Disney’s creative vision nearly dismantled the entire 20-year endeavour to transform a work of personal significance into one of the most endearing classic films in cinematic history. The film is directed by John Lee Hancock, produced by Alison Owen, Ian Collie and Philip Steuer, and written by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith. Walt Disney Studios releases the film in UK cinemas winter 2013.

The 57th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express runs from Wednesday 9 October-Sunday 20 October. The full programme for the Festival will be announced on Wednesday 4 September.