Last week I had the pleasure of viewing Saving Mr Banks, the historical drama staring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, which details the development of the 1964 Walt Disney studios film, and subsequently P. L. Travers’ fortnight long stay in Los Angeles as she is persuaded by Walt Disney, to sign over the screen rights to her novels.
Leaving the cinemas after the two hour long film, I felt a mix of emotions. As well as showing the audience the troubles of developing the film, we see Travers childhood. Being non-linear, the plot travels between California in the 1960’s and Outback Australia in the 1900’s, giving us insight into why Travers is the way she is. The audience watches as her father fights a losing battle with alcoholism, and as Travers (nicknamed ‘Ginty’ by her father) watches her mother attempt suicide.
Admits the sorrow I felt for the Travers character, the screen lit up every time Hanks featured on the screen. The emotions I felt where the same I feel every time I enter a Disneyland, or watch a Walt Disney Animations film. Pure joy and inspiration to create. And I could tell the rest of the audience where loving the Hanks scenes, one in particular where Travers and Disney go to the park for a ride on King Arthur’s Carrousel.
Upon arriving home, I decided to do a quick google search on both of the interesting characters, and discovered that Tom Hanks is the first man to ever play the icon, Walter Elias Disney. Some one hundred years after his birth, and nearly fifty years since his death , and it’s only now we get to see a tiny behind-the-scenes look at a man who brought joy to so many children’s living rooms.
And it isn’t like there is not enough material to make a film on the legend. Walt Disney, although having a relatively short life, had many aspirations and completed a lot in his life time. The film could be able to show his early life and work with the red Cross, his beginnings in animation and the development of Mickey Mouse, being a pioneer of feature film length animations, creating Disneyland, his personnel life with Lillian Disney and his dark sides, and unfortunate death.
Casting would be easy, as Tom Hanks has already been proven perfect for the role, and maybe even Emma Thompson could make a small cameo. It would be a nice touch.