I’ll be talking more about this film in the upcoming weeks. Perhaps you’ve already heard of it. “Saving Mr. Banks” is the December release from the Disney Studios and it’s poised to be a holiday hit.
I snapped this shot on set and you can see Richard Sherman watching himself twice. Richard is coaching actor, Jason Schwartzman who plays Richard Sherman in the Disney motion picture. As you already know, the Sherman Brothers composed all the marvelous songs for Walt Disney’s “Mary Poppins.” I worked on the amazing film back in the early sixties and I can honestly say, we all had a blast. Naturally, this was a crowning achievement for Walt because he had waited years to bring this story to the screen.
Last year the Disney Company decided to bring this incredible story to the big screen. Working from an amazing screenplay by Kelly Marcel, the studio was able to garner the talents of director, John Lee Hancock and actors, Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks. I was lucky to be on set with Mr. Hanks and hopefully provide some insights on playing The Old Maestro. No stranger to the Disney Studio, Tom Hanks had maintained an office here back in the early eighties. I reminded Tom that my eldest daughter, Sharon was employed in the Disney mailroom and would often deliver mail to the talented actor.
Last week, AFI Fest included “Saving Mr. Banks” in their screening schedule. Naturally, the film proved to be a big hit with those attending the screening. Of course, all the cast member were there at the famous Chinese Theater in Hollywood. I missed the AFI screening but I had already viewed the film at the Disney Studio some months ago. Some I’ve spoken with have had misgivings about the casting of The Old Maestro. I reminded them that Walt Disney was a unique individual. An American icon, if you will. I can’t think of a better actor to portray Walt Disney. Tom Hanks has become iconic in his own way. He’s very much our “everyman,” which makes him uniquely suited for the role. In any case, I recommend you see the film and make your own conclusion. I’m hardly one to jump up and down about the Disney Studio’s live-action slate. Mostly, the mouse house produces pop corn movies these days. This is not a criticism because there’s nothing wrong with a pop corn movie. However, this amazing new film from director John Lee Hancock is a serious Oscar contender and you heard it here first.