Disney has released the first image from their potential awards contender, Saving Mr. Banks. The film focuses on Walt Disney’s (Tom Hanks) twenty-year pursuit of the film rights to author P.L. Travers’ (Emma Thompson) novel Mary Poppins and the rocky relationship that formed between the two. Once you have two respected actors playing famous people, you’re already on the awards radar, and the outstanding cast also includes Colin Farrell, Ruth Wilson, Rachel Griffiths, Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwarztman, and Paul Giamatti. The image above takes place at Disneyland in 1961, and as you can see, Travers’ is less than impressed. Thompson says that while she usually plays characters with clear moral guides, “[Travers] was not like that at all. She was far more chaotic and confused and morally various.” I have full faith in Thompson’s ability, and I’m eager to see how director John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side) brings the picture together.
Hit the jump to check out the image. Saving Mr. Banks opens December 20th.
Here’s the official synopsis for Saving Mr. Banks:
When Travers travels from London to Hollywood in 1961 to finally discuss Disney’s 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 impresario’s 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 other—her 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 story’s 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 film—which, like the author, hints at the relationship he shared with his own father in the early 20th Century Midwest.