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Saving Mr. Banks

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Saving Mr. Banks
Saving Mr. Banks Theatrical Poster
Film information
Directed by: John Lee Hancock
Produced by: Alison Owen
Ian Collie
Philip Steuer
Executive producers:
Christine Langan
Troy Lum
Andrew Mason
Paul Trijbits
Music by: Thomas Newman
Cinematography: John Schwartzman
Editing by: Mark Livolsi
Studio: BBC Films
Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date(s): December 13, 2013
Running time: 109 minutes
Saving Mr. Banks is a biographical drama film about the production of the popular 1964 Walt Disney Studios film Mary Poppins. The film stars Tom Hanks as filmmaker Walt Disney himself and Emma Thompson as author P.L. Travers. Directed by John Lee Hancock from a screenplay by Kelly Marcel, filming started on September 19, 2012. Walt Disney Pictures released the film on December 13, 2013. It was nominated for Best Score.
Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thomspon as P.L. Travers
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In London in 1961, financially struggling author Pamela "P. L." Travers (Emma Thompson) reluctantly agrees to travel to Los Angeles to meet with Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) at the urging of her agent Diarmuid Russell (Ronan Vibert). Disney has been courting Travers for 20 years, seeking to acquire the film rights to her Mary Poppins stories, on account of his daughters' request to make a film based on the character. Travers, however, has been extremely hesitant toward letting Disney bring her creation to the screen because he is known primarily as a producer of animated films, which Travers openly disdains.Her youth in Allora, Queensland in 1906 is depicted through flashbacks, and is shown to be the inspiration for much of Mary Poppins. Travers was very close to her handsome and charismatic father Travers Robert Goff (Colin Farrell), who fought a losing battle against alcoholism.Upon her arrival in Los Angeles, Travers is disgusted by what she feels is the city’s unreality, as well as by the naïve optimism and intrusive friendliness of its inhabitants, personified by her assigned limo driver, Ralph (Paul Giamatti).At the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Travers begins collaborating with the creative team assigned to develop Mary Poppins for the screen, screenwriter Don DaGradi (Bradley Whitford), and music composers Richard and Robert Sherman (Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak respectively). She finds their presumptions and casual manners highly improper. She meets Disney in person, and he is jocular and familiar from the start, but she remains unfriendly.Travers’ working relationship with the creative team is difficult from the outset, with her insistence that Mary Poppins is the enemy of sentiment and whimsy. Disney and his associates are puzzled by Travers’ disdain for fantasy, given the fantastical nature of the Mary Poppins story, as well as Travers’ own richly imaginative childhood existence. Travers has particular trouble with the team’s depiction of George Banks, head of the household in which Mary Poppins is employed as nanny. Travers describes Banks’ characterization as completely off-base and leaves the room distraught. The team begins to grasp how deeply personal the Mary Poppins stories are to Travers, and how many of the work’s characters are directly inspired by Travers’ own past.Travers' collaboration with the team continues, although she is increasingly disengaged as painful memories from her past numb her in the present. Seeking to find out what’s troubling her, Disney suggests the two of them go to Disneyland. The visit to Disneyland, along with Travers’ developing friendship with her limo driver, the creative team’s revisions to the character of George Banks, and the insertion of a new song to close the film, help to soften Travers. Her imagination begins to reawaken, and she engages enthusiastically with the creative team.This progress is upended, however, when Travers realizes that an animation sequence is planned for the film. Travers has been adamant from the start that any animated sequences would be unacceptable. She confronts and denounces a protesting Disney, angrily declaring that she will not sign over the film rights and returns to London. Disney discovers that Travers is writing under a pen name. Her real name is Helen Goff, and she’s actually Australian, not British. Equipped with new insight, he departs for London on the next flight, determined to salvage the film. Appearing unexpectedly at Travers’ residence, Disney opens up—describing his own less-than-ideal childhood, while stressing the healing value of his art—and urges her to shed her deeply-rooted disappointment with the world. Travers relents and grants him the film rights.Three years later, in 1964, Mary Poppins is nearing its world premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Travers has not been invited because Disney fears that she will give the film negative publicity. Goaded by her agent, Travers returns to Los Angeles, showing up uninvited in Walt Disney’s office, and finagles an invitation to the premiere. She watches Mary Poppins initially with scorn, reacting with particular dismay to the animated sequence. She slowly warms to the film, however, and is ultimately surprised to find herself overcome by emotion, touched by the depiction of George Banks’ redemption, which clearly possesses a powerful personal significance for her.


  • Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. To prepare for his role, Hanks took several visits to The Walt Disney Family Museum and interviewed some of Disney's relatives including his daughter Diane Disney Miller. Hanks also stated that Disney's notorious vice of chain smoking (which led to his death from lung cancer in 1966) would be incorporated through the course of the film.
  • Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers
  • Colin Farrell as Travers Robert Goff
  • Paul Giamatti as Travers’ chauffeur, Ralph
  • Jason Schwartzman as Richard M. Sherman, musician who co-wrote the film's songs with his brother Robert. Richard himself also taught Jason how to best portray him, and assisted in other points of the film.
  • B. J. Novak as Robert B. Sherman, musician who co-wrote the film's songs with his brother Richard.
  • Ruth Wilson as Margaret, Travers' mother
  • Victoria Summer as Julie Andrews, actress who portrayed Mary Poppins
  • Kathy Baker as Tommie, a trusted studio executive
  • Bradley Whitford as Don DaGradi, the co-writer of the 1964 film.
  • Rachel Griffiths as Aunt Ellie, Margaret's sister
  • Annie Buckley as the young P.L. Travers, nicknamed "Ginty"
  • Kimberly D'Armond as Nanny Katie, young Travers' childhood nanny and the inspiration for Katie Nanna
  • Michael Swinehart as Porter
  • Luke Baines as Waiter



Marcel's screenplay is listed in film executive Franklin Leonard's 2011 Black List, voted by producers, of the best screenplays that are not in production. According to the 40th Anniversary DVD release of the film in 2004, Disney had been working since the 1940s to acquire the rights to the book that was written in 1934, as a promise to his two daughters, but Travers had great misgivings about how her stories would be filmed. She finally relented and allowed Disney to film the story but was so disappointed with the animated portions of the film that she refused to allow any other stories to be filmed.


Although some of the filming was originally to be in Queensland, Australia, all filming took place in the Los Angeles area, including Disneyland and at the Walt Disney Studios. Filming was completed around Thanksgiving 2012, and the film was released on December 20, 2013.

For the Disneyland sequences, Disney blocked off certain parts of the theme park from November 6 to 7, 2012 (such as Disney's California Adventure and Sleeping Beauty Castle, the former of which didn't exist yet). The park's cast members and several hundred guests were also hired as extras.




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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The article or pieces of the original article was at Saving Mr. Banks. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Disney Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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