Following its appearance here in London last month, the film continued on the festival circuit at the AFI Fest last week, and has an Oscar-primed mid-December release date scheduled on the other side of the Atlantic.
Disney will no doubt be campaigning hard for both leading stars Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks in the Best Actress and Best Actor categories. And with just a couple of weeks before the film is released, the studio has debuted a new featurette, taking a look at Emma Thompson and the challenges she faced in bringing P.L. Travers to life on the big screen.
When Walt Disney’s daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins, he made them a promise—one that he didn’t realize would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine. But, as the books stop selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney’s plans for the adaptation.
For those two short weeks in 1961, Walt Disney pulls out all the stops. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman brothers, Walt launches an all-out onslaught on P.L. Travers, but the prickly author doesn’t budge. He soon begins to watch helplessly as Travers becomes increasingly immovable and the rights begin to move further away from his grasp.
It is only when he reaches into his own childhood that Walt discovers the truth about the ghosts that haunt her, and together they set Mary Poppins free to ultimately make one of the most endearing films in cinematic history.
Thompson and Hanks head up an excellent cast, starring alongside Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, Colin Farrell, Ruth Wilson, B.J. Novak, Rachel Griffiths, and Kathy Baker.
John Lee Hancock (The Blindside) directs from a script penned by Kelly Marcel (Terra Nova, Fifty Shades of Grey) and Sue Smith.
Saving Mr. Banks will be released in the UK on 29th November, and will begin its limited release in the US on December 13th, ahead of its wide US release date on December 20th.