FUN Facts from Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks

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I am SO incredibly excited about Disney’s new Saving Mr. Banks film which releases on December 13, 2013. I just received some new press material, in fact a LOT of new press material! I’ve spent the past hour reading through it as it’s quite interesting! I’ve decided to copy/paste some highlights from the material here for you to get an INSIDER’S LOOK at the new film!

  • Walt Disney began his quest to get the rights to P.L. Travers’ book “Mary Poppins” in the early 1940s. Although it took nearly 20 years to obtain the rights, when “Mary Poppins” was finally made, it won five awards of its 13 Academy Award® nominations: Best Actress (Julie Andrews), Best Effects, Best Film Editing, Original Score and Original Song.
  • “Saving Mr. Banks” is the first feature-length, theatrical drama to depict the iconic entrepreneur Walt Disney, with two-time Academy Award® winner Tom Hanks (“Philadelphia,” “Forrest Gump”) stepping into the major role.
  • “Saving Mr. Banks” was only the third feature film to ever shoot scenes at Disneyland. The last feature to film at the park was Tom Hanks’ directorial debut, “That Thing You Do,” with only one other film before that to shoot inside the 58- year-old theme park—Norman Jewison’s 1962 directorial debut, “40 Pounds of Trouble.”
  • Richard Sherman, who with his brother Robert, wrote the now-classic songs for ‘Mary Poppins,” was a consultant on “Saving Mr. Banks” and his insights into the era and his engaging anecdotes were highly regarded by cast and crew alike. He recalls that Walt Disney was very fond of the song “Feed the Birds,” which apparently touched him with its message that it doesn’t take much to give love. Disney would call the Sherman Brothers up and ask them to come play the song, so they would go to Disney’s office and play it for him. It became a regular almost-every-Friday ritual.
  • “Saving Mr. Banks” filmed almost entirely in the Los Angeles area (there was one day of shooting in London), with key locations that included Disneyland in Anaheim (only the third feature film ever to shoot there in the park’s 58-year history), TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman’s) in Hollywood (where the 1964 premiere of “Mary Poppins” took place), the Disney Studios in Burbank (which opened in 1939 and where the 1964 movie filmed in its entirety) and the 10,000 acre Big Sky Ranch in Simi Valley, which doubled for the film’s early 20 Australian landscape. The nine-week shoot concluded in late November 2012.
  • Director of Photography John Schwartzman, who reunites with director Hancock for the first time in over a dozen years (he guided the camerawork and lighting on his 2002 directorial debut, “The Rookie”) chose to shoot “Saving Mr. Banks,” in this digitally-saturated age, on film, just like “Mary Poppins” was done 50 years ago. “There’s an elegance to film that certainly digital will achieve, but hasn’t quite gotten yet,” the veteran cinematographer says.

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