Saving Mr. Banks is a Kelly Marcel-penned Black List script that details the 14 years it took Walt Disney to convince author P.L. Travers to give him the movie rights to her Mary Poppins character. The result of the lengthy courtship was, of course, the Julie Andrews-starring 1964 Disney film Mary Poppins.
That movie has made Disney a whole lot of money over the years, so it makes sense that they would be looking to produce any sort of acclaimed script that manages to cash in on Poppins’ mainstream name recognition; especially one that features their company’s founder, Walt Disney, as the main character. To that end, Disney has acquired Marvel’s script and hired The Blind Side helmer John Lee Hancock to direct.
That’s all old news though. The new news about this project is that casting has started, and they’re looking at some pretty huge names to play Disney and Travers. According to Variety, Hancock and company are talking to none other than Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson to fill the roles. Just let that sink in for a moment — Tom Hanks may play Walt Disney in a movie about the making of Mary Poppins. Have you ever heard of anything that will make a more violent grab for the hearts and wallets of everyone’s parents and grandparents than that?
Forget recent disappointments like Larry Crowne and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, this is the sort of role that could put Hanks right back on the top of the mountain, win him all of the awards, and get him all of the money. And Thompson playing a prickly writer who won’t give up her creation, even to the most magical man in the world? That perfect bit of casting is just the icing on the cake. Unless there’s a scheduling SNAFU of epic proportions, it doesn’t seem like anyone involved would be crazy enough to pass on this opportunity.