When a project starts out with A-list leads like Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson, it’s not surprising when the supporting cast turns out to be equally impressive. Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, and Ruth Wilson have just joined the cast of Saving Mr. Banks, Disney’s drama about the making of Mary Poppins.

Though the film’s still in pre-production, it already boasts some serious pedigree, and not just in terms of acting talent: The Blind Side helmer John Lee Hancock is on board to direct from a Black List script by Kelly Marcel. More details after the jump.

Read More »

.

Please Recommend /Film on Facebook

It seems like biopics and other similar true life stories are exploding in development right now, and we’ve got casting for three big ones. First up, the Jimi Hendrix film All is By My Side has just added a young Keith Richards. British actor Ashley Charles will play the Rolling Stones songwriter and guitarist.

John Ridley is directing the film now, with Andre Benjamin as Hendrix, and Hayley Atwell as Linda Keith, who during the story’s time frame was dating Richards. She ‘discovered’ Hendrix and tried to get the Stones management to work with him, to no avail. Keith Richards likely won’t play a big part in the film, which chronicles the days before Hendrix made it big.

Fun fact checking: let’s see how people refer to Richards in this film. In ’63 the Stones manager started listing the guitarist as Keith Richard, and it wasn’t until the ’70s that he once again became Richards.  [THR]

After the break, Donal Logue plays an important figure in the New York music scene, and Colin Farrell is in talks for the Mary Poppins film Saving Mr. Banks. Read More »

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.

Read More »

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 »

When it first came out in 1964, Mary Poppins was a smash hit both commercially and critically: it out-earned The Sound of Music and My Fair Lady at the box office, received thirteen Academy Award nominations and won five. Now, nearly fifty years later, Disney is looking toward returning to the Mary Poppins well — but don’t worry, it’s not a sequel. The studio is close to picking up Saving Mr. Banks, Kelly Marcel’s 2011 Black List script about Walt Disney‘s 14-year effort to persuade author P.L. Travers to sell the movie rights to her tale.

While that may not sound like the sexiest premise in the world, the prickly relationship between Travers and Disney should provide more than enough drama to power a film. Especially if the story falls into hands as capable as those of Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, both of whom are rumored to be eyeing the leads. More details after the jump.

Read More »

Each December since 2004, studio executive Franklin Leonard has compiled the best unproduced screenplays of the year, as voted by hundreds of execs, agency guys, and high-level assistants. Titled The Black List, the compendium highlights both established screenwriters and up-and-comers, and has served as a launching pad in the past for projects like Juno, Lars and the Real Girl, and (500) Days of Summer. Last year’s list included Margin Call, Crazy, Stupid, Love, The Hunger Games, and Snow White and the Huntsman.

It should be noted that the headline is somewhat misleading — some of these screenplays have already been acquired and are already in development, though according to Leonard none will have entered principal photography by December 31, 2011. Also worth pointing out is that, as in previous years, there have been rumors that some of the participants have been accused of using the Black List to promote their own clients or friends. Finally, as Leonard reminds us each time, “The Black List is not a ‘best of’ list. It is, at best, a ‘most liked’ list.”

Regardless, we can always rely on the Black List to stir up conversation among both industry insiders and outside spectators alike, so without further ado, hit the jump for the complete 2011 list.

Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web: