Even when it just had a director and two principal actors in place, Disney’s upcoming Saving Mr. Banks already seemed like it was the perfect storm of mainstream appeal. Take director John Lee Hancock, who made mountains of money and received boatloads of acclaim for his sugary sweet The Blind Side, give him two of the most universally loved actors working in Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, and put them to work on subject matter involving one of the biggest legends in entertainment history, Walt Disney, and one of the most enduring children’s stories of all time, “Mary Poppins,” and you have to imagine this film’s potential for box office dollars and warmed hearts is unprecedented.
It turns out Saving Mr. Banks isn’t just content to get our attention and then sit back and coast on a winning formula though. Variety has a new report that a trio of actors have just signed on to the film in supporting roles, and they’re three of the best supporting players studio dollars can buy. Joining Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers will be Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, and Ruth Wilson.
Giamatti, of course, is one of the greatest character actors ever to live, and needs little introduction. He’ll be joining the film in the role of Travers’ chauffeur. Schwartzman first came to prominence through his collaborations with Wes Anderson, and was last seen in that director’s recent film Moonrise Kingdom. He’ll be playing Disney composer Richard Morton Sherman, who ends up doing the music for Disney’s Mary Poppins movie after Walt finally convinces Travers to allow him to adapt her material. Ruth Wilson has big upcoming roles in The Lone Ranger and Anna Karenina, but at this point she’s probably best known for her absolutely chilling and revelatory recurring role in the Idris Elba-starring BBC series Luther. She’ll be appearing in flashbacks as Travers’ mother (joining Colin Farrell, who apparently has been cast as her father).
As if this one didn’t already have everybody planning on taking their parents and grandparents to it already, now they go and pull this. With this cast in place, it would appear that one would have to be a fool to not at least give Saving Mr. Banks a try.