Did Tom Hanks’ performance as Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks wet your whistle for another depiction of Mr. Disney on the big screen? Then 2014 just might be your year, because two independent biopics are scheduled to be released later this year.
As Dreamers Do, directed by Logan Sekulow (God Bless Vegas) and written by Wendy Ott, is described as “an art film for families.”
“This movie is a passion project for me,” Sekulow said in a recent press release. “Since before I went into film school, I dreamed of telling a story like this. Walt has been a lifelong inspiration, and I hope to share this often-untold adventure in a unique, creative and entertaining way. I’m a hardcore Walt fan, and we will not disappoint.”
It stars Olan Rogers as Walt Disney (above), Mark Stuart and Tyler Hayes as his parents Elias and Flora Disney, Ryan Dunlap as his brother Roy and William Haynes as Disney’s friend/business partner Ub Iwerks. Country crooner Travis Tritt narrates the film. Filming began earlier this month in Franklin, Tennessee, with a spring release date planned. The production is being documented on the official Facebook and Twitter pages.
The second film, Walt Before Mickey, is based on the book of the same name by Timothy Susanin. The 2011 book was supported by the Disney family, and had a foreword written by Walt’s daughter, the late Diane Disney Miller.
“Walt Before Mickey is a fresh take on a classic American ideal, exploring a part of Walt Disney’s life that little is known about,” producer Armando Gutierrez said in a press release about the film.
Alongside Gutierrez, the film will be produced by Jeff Rice and Arthur Bernstein and directed by Ari Taub. It will also feature Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) as Roy Disney, Hunter Gomez (National Treasure) as animator Hugh Harman, Matt Cook as Ub Iwerks, Donn Lamkin (Nashville) as Elias, and Kate Katzman as Walt’s wife, Lillian.
Mysteriously, there does not appear to be any information on the casting of Walt himself, which seems a little odd since filming has begun and it is scheduled to debut later this year. Perhaps that information will be added to the official Walt Before Mickey Facebook page soon.