The way Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks is shaping up, we might as well pencil it in now for the 2014 Oscar race. Based on true events, Kelly Marcel‘s 2011 Black List script centers around company founder’s Walt Disney‘s 14-year effort to convince Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers to turn over the rights to her book. Since the early days, the project’s sought big names, with Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep said to be among the top choices to play the leads and The Blind Side helmer John Lee Hancock boarding the picture in late February. Now casting has begun in earnest, with Hanks in talks to play Walt Disney and Emma Thompson negotiating for the role of Travers.

So to recap: Bittersweet real-life drama, check. Best Picture-nominated director, check. Oscar-kissed stars, working on a double check. Yep, Saving Mr. Banks wants badly to be an awards contender, all right. More details after the jump.

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Last year, one of the scripts that placed well on the Black List, aka a rundown of popular unproduced screenplays, was Saving Mr. Banks by Kelly Marcel. The script tells of the decade-plus effort by Walt Disney to get P.L. Travers to allow Disney to make a film based on her book Mary Poppins.

Disney started moving to pick up the script this month, and Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep were quickly rumored for the major roles. We don’t have confirmation of that casting at this point, but John Lee Hancock, who last made The Blind Side, is now in talks to direct. Read More »

Disney has their next inspiring true story in line for the big screen. They’re calling it Electric Boy Genius, and it’s based on a 2002 GQ article about young inventor and electrical engineering wunderkind Ryan Patterson who, at just 17 years of age, invented an electronic sign-language device that used sensors in a glove to translate specific hand movements into letters on a screen. The article, written by Andrew Corsello, told of Ryan’s victory at the 2001 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, which got him a job working in aerospace robotics for Lockheed Martin. Learn more after the break. Read More »

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