Disney has released the first clip and two featurettes for John Lee Hancock‘s Saving Mr. Banks. The story focuses on Walt Disney’s (Tom Hanks) pursuit of the film rights to author P.L. Travers’ (Emma Thompson) novel Mary Poppins and the rocky relationship that formed between the two. Judging by the brief clip, which centers on the first meeting between Disney and Travers, the two lead actors look like they’ll have some good chemistry. As for the featurettes, one explains the appeal of the story, and the other celebrates Thompson’s performance. The latter is a bit confusing since everyone is praising the complexity of the character and the depth of Thompson’s performance, but all we’re seeing is a prim-and-proper fish-out-of-water. At the end of the featurette, we get a glimpse of the dramatic side, but I’m worried these moments will feel forced in the movie. My current prediction is that Hancock has created a nice picture that will invite backlash if it picks up any awards steam.
Hit the jump to check out the clip and featurettes. The film also stars Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak, Annie Rose Buckley, Ruth Wilson, Rachel Griffiths, Kathy Baker, and Colin Farrell. Saving Mr. Banks will premiere at AFI Fest in November and opens in theaters on 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.