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Saving Mr. Banks tells the tale of when Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) invited Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to his studio in Los Angeles in 1961, to discuss his interest in obtaining the movie rights to her beloved book and character. While there, Travers, who had been resistant for 20 years, spent two weeks uncompromisingly fighting every idea and suggestion, on the road to bringing this classic to the big screen. At a press conference to promote the film’s release, co-stars Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks talked about bringing the essence of these people to life without doing an exact imitation, what they learned about these individuals from playing them, the characters they were each obsessed with, growing up, and what P.L. Travers might have thought of this film. Thompson also addressed whether there might ever be another Nanny McPhee movie. Check out what they had to say after the jump. »
- Christina Radish
Finally, we’re approaching the most magical season of the year: Oscar time. And better yet, we’re in the middle of one of the best film years of the past decade. Most of 2013′s buzziest movies are undisputed triumphs (12 Years a Slave, Gravity, Nebraska, etc.) and I’m torqued for a February telecast of hotly contested categories and a swarm of deserving Best Picture nominees.
But just because we have a batch of Oscar-ready movies doesn’t mean we shouldn’t voice complaints about them. So often with Oscar bait, it feels like legitimate criticism goes forgotten and communal approval takes over. Before Oscar campaigns kick into overdrive this year, we’re voicing our ten biggest complaints about ten of the year’s most critically beloved (and Oscar-readiest) movies. Keep in mind these are only gripes about the movies released so far. We’ll be similarly critical of August: Osage County, »
- Louis Virtel
“Saving Mr. Banks” is the fifth film directed by John Lee Hancock, who began his career as a writer, scripting the 1993 Clint Eastwood film “A Perfect World.” His new film travels between Los Angeles in 1961, London at the same time, and flashbacks to P.L. Travers’ youth in Australia.
Cinematography: John Schwartzman
I like to get everyone on board as soon as possible so we can have lots of discussions with John, production designer Michael Corenblith, costume designer Daniel Orlandi. That’s the way it ought to be. Everybody should be finishing each others’ sentences. Too often people don’t have good prep and they paint themselves into corners. I had been to Australia and seen the two houses and towns where the Goffs lived (i.e., P.L. Travers’ childhood home). The sun and the light felt very much like Southern California, so John and I embraced that. The light and »
- Tim Gray
In my opinion, kid’s movies are among the best ever made but are often over-looked because they usually lack tragic drama or passionate physical romances, but that’s what makes them great. They are a fantasy escape into a world we’ve never seen but we all wish we had. And that’s what Mary Poppins did so brilliantly in 1964 and I don’t think that anyone anywhere can honestly say that they didn’t yearn for Mary to fly to their doorstep and teach them magic when they were little.
With expert flair, Walt Disney made a spirited, visually captivating and touching adaptation from the P.L. Travers books and it was the first film from his studio to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. Featuring a knockout, Oscar-winning performance of prim, proper British beauty and intelligence by Julie Andrews, Mary Poppins, Disney studios most expensive film up to that time, »
- Tom Stockman
I love, love, love Emma Thompson . both as an actress and as a person! And you will fall in love with her performance in the upcoming .Saving Mr. Banks. where the actress plays P.L. Travers, the real-life author of .Mary Poppins,. the book! Thompson has many delicious repartees with Tom Hanks who plays Mr. Walt Disney Himself, as well as the trio of Bradley Whitford (co-writer Don DaGradi), Jason Schwartzman (Richard M. Sherman), and B.J. Novak (Robert B. Sherman).
In this interview with the legendary Thompson, we talked about:
*** How did he get attracted to making the movie?
*** Her character, Pamela, oh I.m sorry, Mrs. Travers
*** I told her that this is her movie . but she didn.t want to accept that . I Love Her! »
I love Colin Farrell! First of all, he called me .luv. and there.s nothing wrong with that Ha! But truth be told, the last time I sat down with the actor was for .In Bruges,. and after so many years, I sat down with the actor again, and you can see a remarkable, positive change in his aura! He.s in a much better place now!
In this interview, we talked about:
*** What made him want to be a part of the movie?
*** His character.s relationship with his daughter in the movie?
*** How did he attack the role?
*** .Saving Mr. Banks. is an homage to art!
*** Favorite scene in the film!
*** I called him a daddy! Ha!
Emma Thompson mesmerizes in .Saving Mr. Banks,. but helping her are the fantastic trio of Bradley Whitford (Don DaGradi, co-writer of .Mary Poppins.), Jason Schwartzman (Richard M. Sherman), and B.J. Novak (Robert B. Sherman). Thompson stars as P.L. Travers, the nightmare of an author who won.t let her .Mary Poppins. go! And she gave the Sherman brothers, composers and lyricists of the 1964 musical, and co-writer Don DaGradi, a hard time! And that.s an understatement!
I sat down with the fantastic trio to talk about .Saving Mr. Banks..
*** How they got interested in making the movie?
*** How Schwartzman.s brother gave him the inside scoop on .Saving Mr. Banks.
*** How art is cathartic . a theme of the movie!
Director John Lee Hancock helped give Sandra Bullock her first Best Actress Oscar award for .The Blind Side,. and now, the filmmaker is back with .Saving Mr. Banks,. a behind-the-scenes look at the making of .Mary Poppins. with Emma Thompson as the author P.L. Travers and Tom Hanks as Mr. Walt Disney himself!
I sat down with the director at Walt Disney Studios to talk about the movie:
*** What got him interested in making the movie?
*** What research did he do to make the movie?
*** What made him choose Emma Thompson?
*** What does he want viewers to feel after watching .Saving Mr. Banks?.
Chicago – In the latest HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film with our unique social giveaway technology, we have 100 pairs of advance-screening tix up for grabs to the “Mary Poppins” backstory “Saving Mr. Banks” with Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks!
“Saving Mr. Banks,” which is rated “PG-13” and opens wide on Dec. 20, 2013, also stars Paul Giamatti, Colin Farrell, Jason Schwartzman, Annie Rose Buckley, Ruth Wilson, Bradley Whitford, B.J. Novak, Lily Bigham, Kathy Baker, Melanie Paxson, Andy McPhee, Rachel Griffiths and Ronan Vibert from director John Lee Hancock and writers Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith.
To win your free “Saving Mr. Banks” passes courtesy of HollywoodChicago.com, just get interactive with our unique Hookup technology below. That’s it! This screening is on Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 at 7 p.m. in downtown Chicago. The more social actions you complete, the more points you score and the higher yours odds of winning! Completing these social actions only »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
SAG Award nominations will be announced next week, and among the films likely that will no doubt be recognized are “August: Osage County,” “Before Midnight” and “Saving Mr. Banks.” The films have also been praised for their scripts, with WGA noms unveiled Jan 3. While these pics are deserving of attention in both realms, the contributions of the directors are mysteriously shortchanged.
There is a special place in the cinema pantheon for directors who don’t make a fuss: No auteur flourishes, no startling camera angles. They’re just there to serve the material and they do it so well, their work is almost invisible. Don’t critics and industry folks realize how hard that is?
John Wells (“Osage”), Richard Linklater (“Midnight”) and John Lee Hancock (“Mr. Banks”), pictured left to right, worked with a strong cast and screenplay, so some people may think they just pointed their cameras and let it happen. »
- Tim Gray
Two-time Academy Award®–winner Emma Thompson and fellow double Oscar®-winner Tom Hanks topline Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, inspired by the extraordinary, untold backstory of how Disney’s classic “Mary Poppins” made it to the screen.
When Walt Disney’s daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, P.L. Travers’ “Mary Poppins,” he made them a promise—one that he didn’t realize would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine. But, as the books stop selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney’s plans for the adaptation.
For those two short weeks in 1961, Walt Disney pulls out all the stops. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman brothers, »
- Movie Geeks
“Saving Mr. Banks” screenwriter Kelly Marcel was a “Mary Poppins” pro as a kid compared to the pic’s co-star Colin Farrell. “It was definitely the film we watched every Christmas,” said Marcel at a Q&A following a screening of Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks” Wednesday at the ArcLight as part of the Variety Screening Series.
Farrell had a different childhood movie in mind.
“I’m sure I’d been shown (‘Mary Poppins’) one Christmas when I was way into single digits,” said Farrell. But “I was more of a ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ boy. I was more interested in fizzy lifting drinks and Everlasting Gobstoppers than I was in spoonfuls of sugar.” But his involvement in the tale of “Poppins” author P.L. Travers and her run-ins with Walt Disney juxtaposed with a look at her childhood brought him closer to the “Poppins” musical. “I do feel an affinity for it now, »
- Terry Flores
The awards season just got more unpredictable. The last three award-giving bodies have chosen different movies for their top honors. The Gotham Awards picked the Coen Brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis" as their top choice while the New York Film Critics Circle awarded David O. Russell's "American Hustle" with the Best Picture of the Year nod.
Now comes the National Board of Review. They chose the equally fantastic movie "Her' from Spike Jonze as the Best Film of the year. Even in acting categories, the three award-giving organizations vary. For Best Actor, Gotham chose Matthew McConaughey for "Dallas Buyers Club," while New York Film Critics crowned Robert Redford for "All is Lost." The Nbr chose Bruce Dern from "Nebraska" as the actor to beat.
It makes perfect sense that any of the marketing we've seen for "Saving Mr. Banks" so far has focused almost exclusively on the relationship between Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson), and that makes sense. That is what the film deals with for the most part, but there's another relationship in the film that is, in its way, even more important. Colin Farrell plays Travers Robert Goff, father to Helen Goff, aka Ginty (Annie Rose Buckley), the little girl who eventually grows up and takes the professional pseudonym of P.L. Travers. He is her world, as we see »
- Drew McWeeny
Emma Thompson is pretty much all the awesome. One of the best things about hiring her to play P.L. Travers in "Saving Mr. Banks" is that Thompson is an accomplished writer in her own right, and when she portrays the creative process, she's not imagining what it's like. She knows. She's done the hard work herself, and she's damn good at it. She's also someone who can effortlessly play sophisticated, but who is unafraid of being massively silly. The first film I really remember seeing her in was "The Tall Guy," a very funny and very silly romantic comedy. She has »
- Drew McWeeny
So you’re casting a movie, and you want top-tier talent—not just for the leading roles but deep into the lineup. It’s a studio film but not one that features Norse gods or guys in robot suits—so your budget isn’t exactly top tier. In most cases, this would be a time to jump straight to the B list. But in this case, you’re Ronna Kress, and you’re casting a film about the making of one of the most beloved movies of all times, “Mary Poppins.” Put that B list away. “Saving Mr. Banks” features Emma Thompson as novelist and Poppins creator P.L. Travers and Tom Hanks as obscure mid-century studio boss Walt Disney. And those two are just the beginning. “It was a movie made for a price, and that’s always a tough sell,” Kress said. “But we were fortunate enough to attach Tom and Emma, »
Anyone who has seen and loved Mary Poppins as much as I have knows one thing for certain: it's not about the kids. For all its riotous scenes of young Jane and Michael having tea parties on the ceiling and jumping through chalk pavement pictures, it's the uptight Mr Banks who is the real target of Poppins's attentions, as she seeks to break him out of his "bank-shaped cage" and reconnect him with what really matters – his family. No wonder the enduring Disney classic ends with Mr Banks himself leading everyone in a tear-jerking chorus of Let's Go Fly a Kite; after all, it was his story all along.
This is the central thrust of Saving Mr Banks, a lovely, sentimental and quietly insightful account of the making »
- Mark Kermode
• Read more about Saving Mr Banks
• More from the Reel history archive
Director: John Lee Hancock
Entertainment grade: B
History grade: B
Pl Travers wrote the first Mary Poppins book in 1934. Soon afterwards, Walt Disney sought the film rights – though it would take him until 1964 to make the movie.
The film's main narrative is set in 1961. Pamela Travers (Emma Thompson) is coaxed into meeting Walt Disney by her literary agent. This isn't easy, for Travers is a misanthrope, highly strung and fiercely protective of her books. Admittedly, most writers are a bit like that, but Travers is at the extreme end of the spectrum. Biographies of her paint a very similar picture. Under substantial pressure, she eventually flies to Los Angeles to meet the person she »
- Alex von Tunzelmann
★★★★☆The tone for John Lee Hancock's pleasingly sentimental and richly layered Saving Mr. Banks (2013) is effectively set by a well-chosen verse from Disney's seminal colour musical, Mary Poppins: "Wind's in the east, mist coming in/Like something is brewing, about to begin." Emma Thompson dons a frumpy cardigan as the prim, proper and deliciously pompous P.L. Travers, the author of the 1934 children's classic. We first meet Travers as a playful, dedicated daughter to her adoring, banker father (Colin Farrell), living in the arid Australian outback. Fast forward to the early 1960s and that playful girl has transformed into a sour-faced author.
- CineVue UK
Director John Lee Hancock’s preceding film was the Oscar-winning The Blind Side, and he now returns with another film that has a more than good chance of being a triumph at the Academy Awards next year, with his brilliant drama Saving Mr. Banks, based around the making of Mary Poppins.
We had the great pleasure of sitting down with Lee Hancock to discuss the title, working with Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks and how fearful he was about making a film with Disney, about Disney. He also tells us what it was like to have composer Richard Sherman around on set, and what other films he’d be interested in exploring on film from a pre-production perspective.
Well I’ll start by saying that the film, deservedly, has been very well-received. Though initially I was a bit worried that the hardened critic may have been put off by the sentimentality… »
- Stefan Pape
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