John Lee Hancock (Blindside) is reportedly in talks to direct Saving Mr. Banks, a feature film based on the true story of how Mary Poppins came to be a Walt Disney classic. Disney is in the process of acquiring the Kelly Marcel Black List script retelling the story of the 14-year-long courtship of Australian author, P.L. Travers by Walt Disney himself in order to secure the film rights to Mary Poppins. No company would be a better fit than Disney, who owns the rights to the 1964 classic starring Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and David Tomlinson, as Mr. Banks. Hit the jump for more on the project, including who might be stepping into Walt Disney’s shoes.
Deadline is reporting that Tom Hanks has been mentioned as a person of interest to play Disney. Recent Oscar-winner, Meryl Streep is another name being thrown around for Travers, the author of Mary Poppins who had extremely close personal ties to her work. Travers was reportedly displeased with the adaptation of her work (particularly the animated sequences) and even more put out at the treatment of her property at the hands of Disney. While the film was an immediate success (and one of my personal childhood favorites), Travers closed the door on any future re-imaginings. It will be interesting to see what kind of picture the creative team paints of Disney the man, especially since Disney the company looks like it will be handling the project. If Hanock does get the job, the Mouse House will have to wait just a bit, even though they’re anxious to get the film into production this year. Hancock’s next project looks to be The Partner, based on the John Grisham novel.