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The First Footage of Tom Hanks as Walt Disney in “Saving Mr. Banks”

Here’s the trailer for Saving Mr. Banks, the fictionalized Disney-produced account of the relationship between Walt Disney and Mary Poppins creator P.L. Travers. The film, which stars Tom Hanks as Disney and Emma Thompson as Travers, is scheduled for release on December 13. It’s unclear what the studio is attempting to achieve with this film, but if the cornball trailer is any indication, it’s unlikely to make a dent in addressing the studio’s Walt Disney image problem.

  • Dirty Laundry Day

    Hey, why not! the studio is into the fairy tales business anyway, might as well haa?

    • Kyle_Maloney

      Even the thumbnail lies, it claims to be HD, but its only 480p.

  • Tim Hodge

    I don’t know how historically accurate this will be, but it looks like a fun story!

  • Jen Hurler

    Based on what we already know about Walt, Pamela Travers, and even the Sherman Brothers, and then seeing them in the trailer, I think it’s safe to say that this won’t be the most accurate film ‘based on true events,’ but will probably still be enjoyable to watch. And who doesn’t want to see old Disney Land? I’m still looking forward to it!

  • Jason Rhodes

    Hopefully this will be a good film, though its credentials seem… slim. I don’t really buy Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, much as I would like to. It seems more like Tom Hanks playing Tom Hanks… with a mustache.

    • Gerry

      I agree. Tom Hanks, though a good actor, doesn’t seem like a great fit for Walt. I’m not sure who’d be a really good Walt in his 40’s-50’s age range but look at this picture of younger Walt. Looks a lot like Ryan Gosling!

      • Amir


        Jean Dujardin (The Artist) is far better match for Mr.Disney character.

  • Floyd Norman

    C’mon, guys! This is a movie, not a documentary. As one of the few people still around when these events actually happened, the film does a darn good job of telling a cool story as well as entertaining the audience. Plus, Mr. Hanks was very concerned about getting things right.

    Relax and enjoy the movie because it’s a lot of fun. We all enjoyed making Mary Poppins back in the sixties. Too bad animation isn’t that much fun today.

    • Carolyn Bates

      I agree and can’t wait to see this. I loved Mary Poppins when it came out and would love to see a filmic tale of the backstory. Tom Hanks is our generation’s Jimmy Stewart. I’ll watch him in anything. I’m happier seeing Tom Hanks play Walt Disney than Paul McCarthy.

    • Inkan1969

      So, Floyd, how much does the movie’s events resemble the actual events?

    • holycow

      This is coming from a man who actually worked in the days shortly following Walt’s passing! This is saying a lot!

    • Mark Sheard

      I agree Floyd. I think it looks wonderful. Looking forward to it.

    • Pedro

      If you worked on Mary Poppins kudos to you. It’s the best movie that ever came out of that studio.

    • Rodan Thompson

      Floyd…. it’s so nice to hear your thoughts on this film. I admit I was very worried that it would do an injustice to the real Walt Disney and his memory. From the trailer alone I feel very reassured. And your statement has put me at ease. Thank you for chiming in, I’m very excited about seeing the film.

  • Pudleiner

    Looks like they are using the actual location in Burbank. The original Disney animation building on the main lot for the shoot.

    I love that old building :-)

    • Steven Dooner

      I worked in the animation building for about a year. LOVED the lot!

  • khan8282

    Is it me, or does Emma Thompson in this trailer look almost exactly like Dean Hardscrabble from Monsters University? I think it’s the hair/cranial spines.

    • Nik

      I also thought that Dean Hardscrabble looked and sounded like Emma Thompson!

  • MRKid

    Looks fun to me! I’m in…

  • leftforever

    I’m not worried about 100% historical accuracy. I just want to be entertained by the story. Walt was a storyteller, so I think he’d approve. Did anyone else notice that you can clearly see the “new” Fantasyland facades, instead of the original tournament tent facades, in the background when they were on the carousel? (The carousel didn’t only have white horses at that time, either.) I’m going to let little things like that slide. I’m also going to let Hanks “do his thing.” There’s far worse things that could’ve happened than a twang in his voice.

  • SMatarazzo

    I’m looking forward to seeing this. It looks great, even if just for all the old Disney props and sets they had to make. I’m not expecting a documentary and exact facts, but I’m sure it’ll be a fun and enjoyable film for anyone interested in Disney or the story of Mary Poppins.

  • rezz

    I can only imagine how the disney corp, meetings must have went down for this. This feels so fake and no real passion in telling an accurate story of Walt. On a side note I hope there’s a young Walter Peregoy in there.

  • Pez

    Who is Tom Hanks playing in this movie?

  • Ned Rifken

    Why couldn’t they use prosthetics to make him look like Walt Disney? I think they blew it. It really could have been great, unfortunately Walt Disney doesn’t even resemble Tom Hanks, bad decision.

  • Sh00tingstarnz

    jeez, why do I even keep coming to this website. You have such a negative attitude to EVERYTHING. What are you? Some kind of animation hipster?

  • Jfilesguy

    Awww… No movie on the creation of “Disney’s Folly?” I think the hip young folks of today call it Ice Gray and the Six to Ten Elves or something. That would have been nifty to see Disney go from making pretty darn good shorts to owning what seems like 42% of the universe.

    Well… No movie on how Oswald was stripped from Walty D’s hands and the creation of Mickey?

    Oh well…

    Maybe the Fleischer Bros. Movie about the creation of the Rotoscope will be better…
    Or the Don Bluth movie on his leave from Disney and creation of a Secret that may or may not involve NIMH…

    Or the Brad Bird Movie…

    Or the Hayao Miyazaki Movie…

    Or the Matt Greoning Movie?

    Or the Chuck Jones one?

    Or the Winsor McCay one?

    Or the Jfilesguy Movie?

    Well… It seems I have a lot of ideas for screenplays of these to write… Now if only I was a screenplay writer…

  • Roberto González

    I wasn’t that interested in it cause Mary Poppins is not even one of my fave Disney movies (although it has its charm) and I thought the company would portray Walt in an overly idealized way. And although that’s probably the case and Hanks doesn’t resemble Walt too much it still looks quite interesting and fun, and I’d rather watch more movies like this rather than yet another boring life action version of one of their animated classics (they had 101 Dalmatians, Alice In Wonderland and they have Maleficent, Cinderella and The Jungle Book in project).

  • MaskedManAICN

    I assume the only thing the studio is trying to achieve is to get back some of the money they blew on the Lone Ranger.

    Kind of a bad, too long trailer, but the movie looks fun as hell. I’ll watch it.

    • James Fox

      The Lone Ranger is a vandalization of a classic property
      what Hollywood did to it is took a famous cowboy hero and turn him into a gun control hippie dippy nutbag

  • Pedro

    Tom kinda looks like Walt the way he is photographed and his mannerisms. The voice is way off. I know the air terminal was shot at the old GM building on Riverside Dr. in Burbank.

    • I hope he catches Leonardo DiCaprio in this one.

  • Ryan Estrada

    “Not only WILL we make this movie, but after you’re dead and there’s nothing you can do about it, we’ll make a movie about what a whiner you’re being about the whole thing.”
    This woman felt so mistreated by the Walt Disney company that she literally wrote about it in her will. Now they’re making a movie about what a pain she was.

    This is like if DC Comics produced The Alan Moore Story.

    • Shazbot

      She WAS a pain, by all accounts. You might try doing some research about her interaction with Disney. She was paid well and treated with courtesy and respect, but NO, Walt Disney didn’t make the movie according to her bizarre whims. Thank God.

      • Kris Åsard

        “doing some research”… You mean like this person did: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/12/19/051219fa_fact1

        By all available accounts, Travers was not given the amount of creative control she had been led to believe that she would have. Quite possibly that resulted in a much better movie, but the “courtesy and respect” you’re talking about probably only exists inside your head.
        Bottom line: Without Travers, no movie. If you can’t make the movie without pissing off the original creator, then you have failed on some level.
        May I suggest you take your own advice before shouting off your mouth?

        • Shazbot

          Yeah, Walt should totally have dumped all of the Sherman Brother’s songs and trashed the animation because Ms. Travers didn’t like them. And because he didn’t, the resultant film “failed on some level”. Bull. Bottom line: Travers’ idea of what would have made a good Poppins movie sucked. She was a weird old lady with a tenuous grasp of reality. Trying to please her 100% would have been impossible. Under the circumstances, she WAS treated well. May I suggest you look at the situation realistically before “shouting” off YOUR mouth?

          • Kris Åsard

            Are you deliberately missing the point here? Without Travers’s novels, there wouldn’t even have been anything to write a Sherman song about. When you handle somebody else’s property, you’re on their dime, spending their time, and if you find them hard to work with, just who’s problem is that supposed to be? The honorable thing to do would have been to simply keep at it until all parties were satisfied. That’s actually how it’s done sometimes, believe it or not.

          • Shazbot

            You’re missing the point about how impossible Travers was to deal with. Walt had a gift for knowing what the public would like when it came to family films, because his sensibilities were pretty much in line with theirs. Travers was the polar opposite; her objections to the songs and animation are proof enough of that. She wrote good books, but she was not qualified to judge how to make good movies of them. She wasn’t a martyr; get off of that. In truth, the best way to “honor” her books was to make a good movie of them, and Walt did that. Oh, and by the way, if Travers had succeeded in sabotaging the Poppins film, Walt had another property in reserve that he thought the “Poppins” songs and other elements could be transferred to: “Bedknobs and Broomsticks”. Because it turns out that most of the good stuff in “Poppins” were Disney’s inventions anyway, not Travers’. Sometimes the source material isn’t all that vital for making a good movie.

          • Kris Åsard

            You know, if “Walt” wasn’t actually going to use Travers’s input then maybe he shouldn’t have offered her a deal where she had script approval? Just a thought.
            Nobody is arguing that “Poppins” isn’t a great movie, but that doesn’t mean you should blindly idolize the creators. As it were, Disney put himself in a position where Travers had every right – morally and legally – to behave the way she did. And that’s sabotage? How?
            What you’re saying, really, is that Disney shouldn’t feel obliged to honor a deal if it becomes the least inconvenient, but to blame the other party instead. Kinda appalling.

          • AmidAmidi

            I think both sides have made their points by now. Let’s move on.

        • joe

          Thanks, for the link to the New Yorker article. Most illuminating!!! I love a lot of the Disney product; but, he/they were rarely ever about, accurately, portraying an author’s work. That’s why it’s: Walt Disney’s Snow White and Walt Disney’s Peter Pan, etc. There is no way Walt would have made an accurate portrayal of Mary Poppins at that time in his career, if ever.

    • The Cartoon Brew comments section: Sucking the fun out of animation since…I’m sorry, I don’t know how old the site is.

  • James Fox

    The Sherman Bros. Doc did describe Mrs. Travers as a cold hard b***h

  • Matthew Broussard

    From the moment it was announced that Tom Hanks would be playing the role of Walt Disney, it was the dumbest miscasting I’ve ever heard and I knew it wouldn’t work. When Disney released the first pictures of Hanks as Disney I knew it couldn’t work. And now that I’ve seen this trailer of what would be an otherwise great movie marred by the presence of a man who looks nothing like Walt Disney and who seems to be putting no effort into trying to sound like Walt Disney, I can see that Tom Hanks as Walt Disney just DOES NOT WORK. I don’t care how good of an actor he is, Walt Disney’s look, voice, and mannerisms are too well known and I can think of at least five other great actors who’d have been a better fit for this movie Why can’t the Walt Disney Company?

    • AmidAmidi

      This film was never about presenting a remotely accurate portrait of Walt Disney or the Disney studio. It’s a slick piece of corporate propaganda designed to rehabilitate Walt’s reputation by associating him with one of America’s most well liked actors. The only question is how successful will the Disney Co. be in duping audiences with their attempt to rewrite company history.

      • George

        They should’ve gotten Brad Pitt.

        • Rodan Thompson

          Pitt’s to short and spindly to have played Walt. Hank’s meaty look fits at the stage of Walt’s life he was about the same stature.

      • Rodan Thompson

        Amid… did you know Walt? You sound rather like a union mouthpiece bent on twisting reality and history to suit some line.

        • AmidAmidi

          No, Rodan, I’m just a historian who respects Walt Disney too much to watch a corporation distort his life for financial gain. After dealing with Disney lawers and legal departments for a year on the Ward Kimball book, I can assure you that there is nothing well-intentioned or truthful about how they present the company’s history or its founder’s life to the general public.

          • Rodan Thompson

            Amid, the “mouthpiece” comment was a bit much… sorry about that. I’ll admit that the studio wouldn’t ever let the real Walt out of the box ever. I remember saving the clipping in the late 70;s where the Disney family sold his Name to the Company. To me, it always seemed like a bad move for the family personally. That was way before the big Corporate Disney existed. I for one am extremely excited about seeing your book on Ward. That I am sure falls much closer to the Man than the SMB movie. I’m a sentimentalist at heart and would hope that there are germs of the man in the film. Floyd Norman seemed to think it gave us a glimmer of the man.
            I do wish you the very best of luck with the Ward Kimball book. Thank you for the opportunity. I’m a big fan of CB and will always be.

      • Jen Hurler

        I definitely agree about casting someone who is arguably one of the world’s most liked actors, who is constantly perceived as a ‘nice guy’ or ‘someone you could probably have a normal conversation with’ just based on his actions and body of work, to aid the Disney company in marketing Walt as a nice guy as well.

        I don’t really know who would portray a good Walt, but they probably figured they couldn’t go wrong with Tom Hanks. He’s a strong, ‘family friendly’ (for the most part) brand in and of himself.

        • John A

          Kevin Kline would have nailed it. Hanks might have made a good John Hench. His performance looks forced and insincere, like the makers of this movie were going out of their way to portray Walt as the most charming man in the world. Biopics always come off as fake and artificial anyway, the only thing that ever really elevates them into good movies is one or two dynamic performances, which this movie seems to be lacking.

          I wonder if they will even mention that Walt was ready to cancel the whole movie and go ahead with “Bednobs and Broomsticks” instead if working with Travers had become impossible.

      • Bill “Danger” Robinson

        Walt’s reputation is held in high regard by everyone but a small subset of historians and animation obsessives. Even Disney’s questionable anti-union tactics don’t mean anything to the average person.

      • Steve

        Like he says in The Simpsons Movie: “The US Government has lost it’s credibility, so it’s borrowing some of mine.”

    • Rodan Thompson

      I kind of thought Tom was miscast in the roll of Walt. But after seeing the trailer I’m somewhat reassured that the end goal here is the story. And that was what Walt was all about. If the movie had to be made, I think he’d probably go along with it. I wonder what the Family thinks.

  • Bill Batz

    This will end up in a box set with the Hitchcock /Anthony Hopkins movie about the making of Psycho. Documentaries would serve this material better.

  • Tim DeForest

    I agree with those who point out that it’s a movie and not a documentary–it’s under no obligation to be historically accurate. I am curious to how they’ll handle the ending, though. P.L. Travers disdain of Disney’s “Mary Poppins” is so well-known that, even conceding that “Saving Mr. Banks” isn’t obligated to be an historical document, it seems like it would be a cop-out to ignore or gloss over it. I’m hoping for a bittersweet ending that acknowledges her opinion of the film. I’m still going to go see it, though. It’s a great subject for a film and few actresses do grouchy disdain better than Emma Thompson.

    This trailer makes me realize, though, that I never have read the original novels. I need to correct that.

  • observant

    So essentially Tom Hanks is playing the same Paul Edgecomb character with a mustache and an added dash of optimism…

  • David Nethery

    Just watched the trailer . I have not read any other comments . Look, who am I to tell Mr. Tom Hanks anything about acting ? (the man is a great actor , and I treasure his directorial debut “That Thing You Do” ) but what IS that almost “Southern” accent he is doing for Walt Disney’s speaking voice ? We have a lot of audio recordings and film of Mr. Walt Disney speaking . That Midwestern “twang” is very apparent . I’ll still go to see the picture and reserve my opinion of it until I’ve seen it , but that’s an odd choice on the voice by Mr. Hanks. (or whoever is directing him to use that voice)

  • Bill Batz

    Ed Wood was great! I agree!

  • George Comerci

    wow!!! this movie looks really good! im really into how animated movies came to be, so it looks like itll be really interesting and fun. also, im a HUGE disney fan! :D i hope the academy will give this film a nod, it looks like it’ll deserve some oscars ;)

  • Chris Powell

    Im am really intrigued. Put this next to ‘The Hobbit’ on my most anticipated list. I really hope they are faithful to the true story of what happened and give a human look at Walt Disney. Ive gotta say, after watching the documentary about the Sherman Brothers, Im gonna be so hard on this movies representation of them.

    Looking forward.

  • I thought Tom Hanks was horrible as Disney… he doesn’t look like him, talk like him, or capture his personality. Of all the actors in the world, was this the best the studio could find? It just feels like Tom Hanks playing Tom Hanks. Personally I also think it’s more interesting to watch more historically accurate versions of events. I think the actual story of Disney making Poppins is interesting enough as it is without much fanciful embellishment, but that’s just my opinion.

  • DBreneman

    Hollywood biopics are not fortresses of verisimilitude. Just pick any half dozen of them and take a look. Young Tom Edison, The Jolson Story, Sergeant York, Boys Town, Lion in Winter, The King and I, Hyde Park on the Hudson, etc. (Oh! And anything by Oliver Stone.) That they are romanticized is taken for granted. And after all, this is Travers’ biopic, not Disney’s. I always thought Disney’s life warranted a miniseries, anyway.

  • Jen Hurler

    A documentary about this would be cool. As another reader said, she wasn’t very well liked in ‘The Boys,’ the documentary made about the Sherman Brothers. I still find it’s interesting when things like this happen, as long as too much isn’t changed. I remember reading about how upset the Connecticut Congressman was about the changes made in ‘Lincoln.’ Though a work of fiction, I still think it wasn’t appropriate to alter something like that. I suppose it’s all about balance. And then there are films like Finding Neverland (which another reader pointed out), in which I enjoyed but am unsure how accurate it was.

    This whole debacle also reminds me somewhat of how Walt Disney didn’t like the final version of 101 Dalmatians. I wonder what dealing with him during that production was like..

  • King of Jazz

    the secretary looks and sounds like Snow White

  • Mark Marderosian

    I read both the book and film in the mid-1960’s. Enjoyed both for different reasons, as they’re obviously two different mediums. I think P. T. Travers’ book and situation were similar to Gary Wolf’s “Who Censored Roger Rabbit”. Two talented writers who caught lightning in a bottle, especially in the basic concepts.

    But the Roger original novel was comic strip characters who spoke in floating word balloons. This wouldn’t have translated to the screen very well.
    And though I haven’t read MP in years, I remember her being a bit of a crabby apple in the book. Her personality on screen was a nicer balance.

  • Mark Marderosian

    sorry, P.L. TRAVERS. wrong middle initial.

  • Barry Rivadue

    No joke, but I’m sure Daniel Day Lewis could have created a believeable Disney persona.

  • JonBoy

    Looks entertaining, let’s keep that cynicism in check internet!

  • Bill Skaleski

    Tom Hanks is more like Prisney than Disney.