... on SAVING MR. BANKS:
In the movie Tom Hanks is playing Walt Disney who is his distant cousin.
Hanks was 55 when filming began, making him only 5 years younger than when Walt Disney began work on Mary Poppins (1964).
For the Disneyland sequences, Disney blocked off certain parts of the theme park, including the Sleeping Beauty castle; Main Street, U.S.A.; Fantasyland and the Astro Orbiter attraction from November 6 to 7, 2012. The park's cast members were also hired as extras.
The film could also be described as "a sincere, heartfelt apology to P.L. Travers" by the Walt Disney Company for the troubles and misunderstandings between her and Disney during Mary Poppins (1964)' production and other matters related to it, with help from the film's producers from England and Australia like BBC Films, Essential Media, Ruby Films, and Hopscotch Features.
P.L. Travers never forgave Walt Disney for what she saw as vulgar and disrespectful adaptation of her "Mary Poppins" novels. Forty years after the release of the film, stage producer Cameron Mackintosh (Cats, Les Misérables, Oliver!, The Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon) approached Travers about a musical theatre version of her work. The author initially refused, citing the film as a reason why she would never again allow an adaptation of her "Mary Poppins" series. After several meetings, the author relented, though when Mackintosh suggested using the songs from the Disney film in the production, Travers again balked. After much more pleading, Mackintosh convinced Travers to allow a stage production with the songs from the film on the strict proviso that no Americans participate in the development, and further that no one involved with the film version--including original film composers the Sherman Brothers, both of whom were still alive and working at the time--could participate. Mackintosh proceeded with development of the stage adaptation for several years without any involvement from Disney, per Travers' wishes, though after the author's death in 1996, the Walt Disney Company was allowed some degree of creative involvement and went on to co-produce the musical with Mackintosh.
P.L. Travers never did approve of casting Dick Van Dyke as Bert in the pre-production stages of Mary Poppins (1964). Although he claimed that it was the best film he was in, Van Dyke felt that he was miscast to play Bert and said that either Jim Dale or Ron Moody should have been cast to play Bert. Travers suggested actors like Richard Burton, Alec Guinness, Richard Harris, Rex Harrison, Ron Moody, Laurence Olivier, Peter O'Toole, and Peter Sellers for the role, in keeping with the British nature of her books. Even Travers and Walt Disney both favored Stanley Holloway for Bert, but Halloway had to turn down the role due to his obligation on reprising his stage role of Alfred P. Dolittle for the film version of Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady (1964), which later became Mary Poppins (1964)' chief competitor in 1964.
To prepare for his role, Tom Hanks made several visits to the Walt Disney Family Museum at San Francisco's Presidio and interviewed some of Walt Disney's relatives, including his daughter, Diane Disney Miller.
This is the first time Thomas Newman has composed music for a live action film made by The Walt Disney Company, as opposed to subsidiary Disney-Pixar, for which he composed Finding Nemo (2003) and WALL·E (2008).