You wouldn’t think that a story about the negotiation for the rights to turn a book into a movie would make much of a movie itself, but damn it, it will if Disney has anything to do with it. Especially since the movie at the heart of the movie is a movie made by Disney. Should this be considered autobiographical?
Well, the movie, “Saving Mr. Banks,” does deal heavily with the idea of autobiography (this feels way more complicated than the usual Disney movie). It’s the story of how Walt Disney, over a period of years, negotiated with the tough-minded Australian author P.L. Travers to turn her book “Mary Poppins” into a movie. Tom Hanks is playing Disney and Emma Thompson is playing Travers.
Now we have another key cast addition–The Hollywood Reporter says that Colin Farrell is in talks to play Travers’s father, who was her inspiration for Mr. Banks, the head of the family that hires Mary Poppins to take charge of hsi chaotic household. THR says:
The script is said to shift back and forth between 1961 and 1907, framing Travers by her childhood in rural Queensland and her experience negotiating with Walt Disney and his team for the film of Mary Poppins. Farrell will play Travers’ father, a banker who slowly slides into alcoholism as the family falls into financial hardship. Travers looked up to her father, and the breaking of his spirit had an effect on her writing.
You know, this sounds really interesting but I’m wondering what Disney is doing here. They usually make big budget general audience pleasers or small budget kid and family pleasers. They’re not usually in the Oscar business and these roles each–Disney, Travers, and Mr. Travers–sure seem to have Awards Season written all over them. Are they going to seriously go all in and make a potentially critic pleasing movie or are they going to try at the same time to make a crowd pleaser, which usually results in a mess? It will be interesting to see…
Farrell will next be seen in the remake of “Total Recall,” opening later this summer.