Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson in 'Saving Mr. Banks'Francois Duhamel/Disney


"Mary Poppins" is a classic Disney film, but it took a lot more than a few spoonfuls of sugar to get author P.L. Travers on board.

This first still from "Saving Mr. Banks," courtesy of TIME, shows the first meeting between the writer and Walt Disney, as portrayed by Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, respectively. The meeting would ultimately prove to be fruitful, but only after 14 years of negotiating and several years of filmmaking.

Thompson describes Travers as "a woman of quite eye-watering complexity and contradiction" and "the most difficult person I've ever played."

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter last October, Hanks explained, "['Saving Mr. Banks'] is like another version of 'Mary Poppins' by way of the relationships between P.L. Travers, who wrote it, and everybody that made the movie cause [sic] it was a very contentious experience."

"Mr. Banks" refers to the patriarch of the family in "Mary Poppins," who was inspired by Travers's father (played by Colin Farrell in flashbacks). A series of children's books about a magical nanny might seem like something fun and frivolous, but it was actually quite personal for the author. It makes sense that, given the nature of the stories, she would want some control over the movie -- but Travers's demands went far beyond that.

Pay attention to the theme of fathers, as Walt also has his own sense of filial piety. Plus, the main reason he wanted to adapt "Mary Poppins" was because he promised his daughters he would.

Ruth Wilson, Paul Giamatti, Kathy Baker, Jason Schwartzman, and B.J. Novak round out the cast. Kelly Marcel, who's also adapting "Fifty Shades of Grey," penned the script, based on a story by her and Sue Smith. John Lee Hancock ("The Blind Side") is the director.

"Saving Mr. Banks" will be released on December 13.

[via TIME, THR]
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