Today, December 5, is Walt Disney’s birthday. In just about two weeks, this icon will be portrayed on screen for the first time ever in Walt Disney Studios’ Saving Mr. Banks.
Director John Lee Hancock says he loved the idea of seeing Walt as a man, and then realized someone would actually have to bring Walt to life: “Oh, but I have to cast this and someone has to become Walt Disney.” As it turned out, though, “There was really only one person that all of us think of and that would be Tom. An icon playing an icon.”
Tom’s co-star Emma Thompson echoed the sentiment, saying “It’s difficult to imagine anyone but Tom playing Walt Disney. It’s so perfect.” Tom himself understood the immense responsibility of portraying such a figure, saying, “The job at hand was to somehow capture all that whimsy that is in his eyes as well as all of the acumen that goes along with it.”
Tom’s relationship with Disney and the Mary Poppins story started long before he was tapped to play Walt. “I do remember seeing it as a little kid, because ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite,’ I think it might’ve made me cry,” he says. You can hear more about the music from Mary Poppins, Walt’s relationship with the Sherman Brothers, and more in this new music featurette:
And watch Tom talk about capturing the spirit of Walt Disney in this featurette:
Saving Mr. Banks comes to select theaters December 13 and will be in theaters everywhere on December 20.