Posted on Saturday, August 10th, 2013 by Angie Han
Saturday’s live-action panel at D23 closed with the studio’s big awards-season hopeful, the making-of drama Saving Mr. Banks. Directed by John Lee Hancock from a Black List script by Kelly Marcel, the drama depicts Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) in his years-long effort to convince author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to fork over the rights to her Marry Poppins books.
We’ve already seen bits of footage from the film thanks to the trailer, but three new scenes were shown at the event. Hit the jump to read all about them.
The first clip opened with Travers’ first day on the Burbank lot. She’s greeted by Mary Poppins screenwriter Don DaGradi (Bradley Whitford), and the music and lyrics team (Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak). It’s already clear she feels out of place. She admonishes that her Mary Poppins books “do not lend themselves to music,” and declines a tour of the studio because “no one likes a showoff.”
The group drive around the lot in a golf cart, as an instrumental version of “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” plays in the background. It becomes apparent that the Mary Poppins movie team are scared of Travers. But Walt Disney looks very friendly as he walks Travers into his office, and orders her a cup of tea. “I could just eat you up,” he says. “That would be inappropriate,” she retorts.
Disney explains that he’s made a promise to his daughters to turn Mary Poppins into a movie, but Travers seems unmoved. “She’s not for sale,” she replies firmly. Among other things, she’s annoyed that Mary Poppins keeps being referred to as Mary, when Travers believes it’s “never ever just Mary — it’s Mary Poppins.”
As she swirls a spoonful of sugar into her teacup, she adds that she’s unhappy with the studio’s ideas about music. “Mary Poppins does not sing,” she says. “She’s not a giddy woman. It’s totally unnecessary. It would simply ruin it. I won’t turn her into one of your silly cartoons.”
At this, Disney looks offended. He sits down and grasps her hand, speaking slowly as he looks right into her eyes. “I would never tarnish it,” he says. “I love her, Pam, I love Mary Poppins. And you’ve got to share her with me.”
The second clip featured another meeting between Travers and Disney. It starts with her in a car (driven by Paul Giamatti) that pulls up to the gates of Disneyland. “Wow, there he is,” says the driver when he sees Disney waiting for them at the park entrance. Travers, however, is neither amused nor excited. The car drives through the gates, into an area that’s typically off-limits to vehicles.
“Welcome to the Magic Kingdom,” Disney says. Travers looks disgusted. “Is it all like this?” she asks. “Yup,” responds Disney.”
“Do you get everything you want?” “Pretty much. With the exception of the [Mary Poppins movie] rights.” During the conversation, a group of children rush Disney, begging for autographs, and he hands out cards with his signature already on them.
He tells Travers he just wants to take her to one ride. “Then I’ll set you free,” he promises. They arrive at the carousel, which she says she’s happy to see but doesn’t want to ride. But when he insists that she get on a horse, she gives in. She tells him that the Poppins are family to her.
Disney, in turn, confesses that he’d made a wager with a boy that he could get her on a Disney ride. “I just won twenty bucks,” he says, to her irritation.
The last clip seemed to pick up a little farther along in the movie process. Travers is working with the Sherman brothers (Novak and Schwartzman) on the music, and is criticizing the script as she reads it.
“NUMBER 17, not 17,” she says about the Banks family address. She’s told that “no one will see it” since the number only shows up in the stage directions, but it doesn’t matter. “I will,” she responds. She also takes issue with the casting of Dick Van Dyke.
The brothers play a tune for her, which doesn’t seem to please her either. She stops them a few lines in, protesting that “responstable” is not a word. “We made it up,” they tell her. But they cross out the word, replacing it with the now-famous “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”
The clips were well received at the event, with Germain tweeting that they featured “humor, tension & plenty of Disney magic.” See the rest of the movie when it opens December 13.
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When Walt Disney’s daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, P.L. Travers’ “Mary Poppins,” he made them a promise—one that he didn’t realize would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine. But, as the books stop selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney’s plans for the adaptation. For those two short weeks in 1961, Walt Disney pulls out all the stops. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman brothers, Walt launches an all-out onslaught on P.L. Travers, but the prickly author doesn’t budge. He soon begins to watch helplessly as Travers becomes increasingly immovable and the rights begin to move further away from his grasp. It is only when he reaches into his own childhood that Walt discovers the truth about the ghosts that haunt her, and together they set Mary Poppins free to ultimately make one of the most endearing films in cinematic history.