“Saving Mr. Banks” Begins Production in Los Angeles (@DisneyPictures)

Disney began production today on Saving Mr. Banks, the account of Walt Disneys twenty-year pursuit of the film rights to P.L. Travers popular novel,Mary Poppins, and the testy partnership the upbeat filmmaker develops with the uptight author during the projects pre-production in 1961.
Two-time Academy Award-winner Tom Hanks (Philadelphia, Forrest Gump) will essay the role of the legendary Disney (the first time the entrepreneur has ever been depicted in a dramatic film) alongside fellow double Oscar-winner Emma Thompson (Howards End, Sense and Sensibility) in the role of the prickly novelist. Before actually signing away the books rights, Travers demands for contractual script and character control circumvent not only Disneys vision for the film adaptation, but also those of the creative team of screenwriter Don DaGradi and sibling composers Richard and Robert Sherman, whose original score and song (Chim-Chim-Cher-ee)would go on to win Oscarsat the 1965 ceremonies (the film won five awards of its thirteen nominations).
When Travers travels from London to Hollywood in 1961 to finally discuss Disneys desire to bring her beloved character to the motion picture screen (a quest he began in the 1940s as a promise to his two daughters), Disney meets a prim, uncompromising sexagenarian not only suspect of the impresarios concept for the film, but a woman struggling with her own past. During her stay in California, Travers reflects back on her childhood in 1906 Australia, a trying time for her family which not only molded her aspirations to write, but one that also inspired the characters in her 1934 book.
None more so than the one person whom she loved and admired more than any otherher caring father, Travers Goff, a tormented banker who, before his untimely death that same year, instills the youngster with both affection and enlightenment (and would be the muse for the storys patriarch, Mr. Banks, the sole character that the famous nanny comes to aide). While reluctant to grant Disney the film rights, Travers comes to realize that the acclaimed Hollywood storyteller has his own motives for wanting to make the filmwhich, like the author, hints at the relationship he shared with his own father in the early 20th Century Midwest.
Colin Farrell (Minority Report, Total Recall) co-stars as Travers doting dad, Goff, along with British actress Ruth Wilson (the forthcoming films The Lone Ranger and Anna Karenina) as his long-suffering wife, Margaret; Oscarand Emmy nominee Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under, Hilary and Jackie, The Rookie) as Margarets sister, Aunt Ellie (who inspired the title character of Travers novel); and a screen newcomer11-year-old Aussie native Annie Buckley as the young, blossoming writer, nicknamed Ginty in the flashback sequences.
The cast also includes Emmy winner Bradley Whitford (The West Wing, The Cabin in the Woods) as screenwriter Don DaGradi; Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore, Moonrise Kingdom) and B.J. Novak (NBCs The Office, Inglourious Basterds) as the songwriting Sherman Brothers (Richard and Robert, respectively); Oscarnominee and Emmy winner Paul Giamatti (Sideways, Cinderella Man, HBOs John Adams) as Ralph, the kindly limousine driver who escorts Travers during her two-week stay in Hollywood; and multi-Emmy winner Kathy Baker (Picket Fences, Edward Scissorhands) as Tommie, one of Disneys trusted studio associates.
Saving Mr. Banks will be directed by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, The Rookie) based on a screenplay by Kelly Marcel (creator of FOX-TVs Terra Nova), from a story by Sue Smith (Brides of Christ, Bastard Boys) and Kelly Marcel. The film is being produced by Alison Owen of Ruby Films (the Oscar-nominated Elizabeth, HBOs Emmy-winning Temple Grandin), Ian Collie of Essential Media (the Aussie TV documentary The Shadow of Mary Poppins,DirecTVsRake) and longtime Hancock collaborator Philip Steuer (The Rookie, The Chronicles of Narnia trilogy). The films executive producers are Ruby Films Paul Trijbits (Lay the Favorite, Jane Eyre), Hopscotch Features Andrew Mason (The Matrix trilogy, Dark City) and Troy Lum (Maos Last Dancer, I, Frankenstein) and BBC Films Christine Langan (Oscarnominee for The Queen, We Need to Talk About Kevin).
Hancocks filmmaking team includes a trio of artists with whom he worked on his 2009 Best Picture Oscarnominee, The Blind Sidetwo-time Oscarnominated production designer Michael Corenblith (How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Apollo 13), Emmy-winning costume designer Daniel Orlandi (HBOs Game Change, Frost/Nixon) and film editor Mark Livolsi, A.C.E. (Wedding Crashers The Devil Wears Prada). Hancock also reunites with Academy Award-nominated cinematographer John Schwartzman (Seabiscuit, Pearl Harbor), with whom he first worked on his inspiring 2002 sports drama, The Rookie.
Saving Mr. Banks will film entirely in the Los Angeles area, with key locations to include Disneyland in Anaheim and the Disney Studios in Burbank. Filming will conclude around Thanksgiving, 2012, with no specific 2013 release date yet set.

Written by Juliet Schroder

Juliet Schroder

Juliet is the founder and executive producer/host of Celeb Secrets and Celeb Secrets Country. When not reporting on the latest news in pop culture and country music, she enjoys traveling, spending time with friends and family, and exploring the latest fashion trends.

Juliet holds a B.S. in marketing from St. John's University.

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