Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson in Saving Mr. Banks Take a look at the first photo of the actors in character as Walt Disney and 'Mary Poppins' author P.L. Travers By Lily Rothman @lilyrothmanJuly 10, 2013 (TIME)

Saving Mr. Banks


Emma Thompson has taken on some difficult roles during her career, winning Oscars and numerous other awards for her performances in works based on classic literature and  historical events. But, says the actress, one role stands apart from the rest.

“She’s the most difficult person I’ve ever played,” Thompson says of her role as P.L. Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins books, in the forthcoming film Saving Mr. Banks.

The movie, coming out this holiday season, is Disney’s take on Travers’ life and, eventually, the stormy relationship she had with the studio’s own mastermind, Walt Disney. Here, TIME presents an exclusive first official look at Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. In the scene shown above, Travers has come to Disneyland, in 1961, to meet with the man himself.

Of course, today’s audiences have long enjoyed their resulting cinematic collaboration: Disney’s 1964 Mary Poppins movie. But the film was a struggle to make: even though Disney had a personal interest in Travers’ tale of a magical nanny, it being one of his daughters’ favorites, the author was not interested in her work being changed by a movie studio.

“She was a woman of quite eye-watering complexity and contradiction,” says Thompson, whose first-ever movie-going experience was seeing a Disney movie, Fantasia, as a child. “Often I play people who are controlled by some very clear guiding moral principles. Like Margaret Schlegel [in Howards End], guided by the early principles of feminism and equal rights, and Elinor Dashwood [in Sense and Sensibility], guided by the principles of decency and honor. There are very clear moral prisms these women pour life through, and I understand that very well. And [Travers] was not like that at all. She was far more chaotic and confused and morally various.”

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