Back in February we heard about a new Disney movie about the making of the Mary Poppins film, basically chronicling how Walt Disney got the rights to the original book in the first place. The film is called Saving Mr. Banks and was originally rumored to star the incredible, Meryl Streep. We also heard back in February that Tom Hanks was in talks to star in the movie. Today Deadline is reporting that Tom Hanks is definitely in negotiations, and not just for any role, but to play Walt Disney himself. I’ve also learned that Meryl is not in the picture anymore, and they are in talks with Emma Thompson, to play the lead female role, the author of Mary Poppins.
We know a bit more about the movie now too, the script will focus on how Walt Disney waged a
14-year courtship to persuade Australian author P.L. Travers to sell him the rights to make a film out of her book, Mary Poppins. I am very excited about this film because I am a huge Mary Poppins fan, and I am keen to know more about the “back end” story. I think Walt Disney has got to be one of the most incredible men in history, and the idea of him having to convince someone to give him the rights to make a movie is fascinating. P.L Travers, who was born Pamela Lyndon Travers, in Australia (yay!), no doubt reaped many benefits, and still does, from selling her novel to Disney, but as I understand it, she was anti the selling of her novel to him from the beginning, and unhappy all the way to the end. She just sounds like a great character and I’m glad they are going to be exploring this story a bit more. I think it is going to be very interesting to learn where the story comes from too.
The heart of this script comes from how close Travers felt to her story of a nanny with magical powers. Mary Poppins was highly personal, and reflected hardships in her own life and her relationship with her father, who died when she was 7. Disney finally persuaded her to let him make the film, but she was prickly all the way to the end. While Mary Poppins was lauded immediately, she hated the animated sequences in the film so much that she refused to sell any of her other works to Disney.
Emma Thompson did play a Mary Poppins-style character in the 2005 movie, Nanny McPhee, which was based entirely on the original Mary Poppins, so it does make sense that she is in the running for the role. Personally, I think Meryl would have done an outstanding job playing P.L Travers. She has the right charisma and old world elegance, and I think she could handle an Aussie accent perfectly. I’m not sure Emma Thompson will be as good, so I do hope that they still try and get Meryl back on board.
Who do you want to see in this new movie, Meryl Streep or Emma Thompson?