In this case, a nice cast only got a bit nicer. Variety reports that, on Saving Mr. Banks, Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Colin Farrell, and Bradley Whitford are being joined by the hard-to-fault trio of Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, and Ruth Wilson (Anna Karenina, The Lone Ranger). Seven cast members, all of whom I have no qualms with.
John Lee Hancock plans to helm the film, based upon the efforts of Walt Disney (Hanks) to obtain rights that would allow for an adaptation of Mary Poppins. The primary obstacle is author P.L. Travers (Thompson), who put up a 14-year fight over the rights to her own work — and she didn’t even like the eventual movie!
Now, for those new members. Wilson is slated to appear in flashback, with the deal calling for her to play Travers’ mother; this also makes her the onscreen wife of Farrell. Giamatti is also on the author’s side, having been contracted for the part of her Los Angeles chauffeur, Ralph. (Considering who they gave the role to — and the fact that this chauffeur even gets worked into the script — makes it clear he has a big part.) Schwartzman‘s role is bound to be the most fun: Richard Morton Sherman, a classic Disney songwriter best known for composing tunes such as “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “It’s a Small World.”
All good performers, and all of whom are being handed parts that will either be dramatically potent or simply entertaining. Saving Mr. Banks was not on my radar at the outset — blame it on the potential Disney-ification of the material or a lack of interest in Hancock’s work — yet, with this cast is coming together rather nicely, I can’t help but care.
Is Mr. Banks looking better with these new developments?
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