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The Poster for the Walt Disney Biopic You’ll Never See

No, it’s not real. But a remarkable mock up of a poster for a film I’d like to see – by Paris based art director Pascal Witaszek.

UPDATE: Brew reader Ron decided to cast the Walt Disney biopic.

  • James Madison

    LOL!. I saw the Illo/poster and said, “Really?”
    Great work. I like the thought behind it, especially the cloud shaped Mickey Mouse.
    It would be great to see more art/thought inspired posters along with the standard

  • Oliver

    I’d rather see a Bobby Driscoll biopic directed by Paul Schrader or David Fincher, myself.

  • Chris

    I think I’m gonna puke!

    When will the animation community stop mythologizing Walt Disney?

    Yes, the man was instrumental in showing some of what could be done with animation.

    But it’s my opinion that this continued preoccupation with Walt Disney holds animation back.

    When discussing new aspects of animation, whether it’s technology, or marketing, or what have you, people in the animation community often rhetorically ask “What would Walt have done?”

    The answer is he wouldn’t have cared. At the time of his death, the man had moved on from animation. He was planning a utopian community. He had moved on to other things.

    I suggest that the animation community move on as well. After 100 years of animation, we should have had several Walt Disneys… but we never will unless people in the community respect the man and his accomplishments, but also push on to try to improve upon them.

    • Tak

      Life is for the living.
      No matter how large the shadows cast by the historical re-tellings of success & achievements by dead men, let that not stifle, blind or hold us back from what we are to do.

    • Old Man Father Time


      How do you know all this?

    • I respect his craziness more then his contributions to animation. If you ever watch what he wanted for epcot you would see how crazy/exciting he was. He wanted to have a city with a skyscraper under a bubble. Good stuff. http://youtu.be/dkT2iLetCTc

    • Scarabim

      “Improve upon them”?

      I have yet to see it. And not because Walt is somehow holding animation back.

      Fact is, most productions I’ve seen in recent years can’t even MATCH his greatest animation accomplishments. Which is why his classics continue to sell on DVD year after year, no matter how old those classics are. People are still hungry for that level of characterization, storytelling, humor and beauty, and they’re not getting it at the multiplex.

      Walt never completely abandoned animation, contrary to your assertion. He was wrapped up in a new idea – EPCOT – but he still demanded the highest standards from any production from his studio. It’s his standards that are missing from many animated films today – and people know it – and that’s why many in the animation business still strive to meet those standards.

    • whoiseyevan

      Nothing wrong with making a film about people who have done things with their lives. It has nothing to do with mythologizing anyone for a specific community. A film is a mass medium product for everyone to enjoy.

  • Rob T.

    I too would love to see this film, especially if they could get Ryan Gosling in the title role. On the other hand, I’d really prefer to see a more imaginative director than Ron Howard in charge. My ideal “Walt” director would have a strongly distinctive visual sensibility, a feel for bringing art and artists to life on film, and maybe a quirky sense of humor as well. With that in mind, I’d consider the following directors first (in alphabetical order):

    Tim Burton
    Alfonso Cuaron
    Guillermo del Toro
    Terry Gilliam
    Peter Jackson
    Jean-Pierre Jeunet
    Baz Luhrmann
    David Lynch
    Martin Scorsese
    Julie Taymor

    I also find myself wondering who might play Roy Disney, Ub Iwerks, Charles Mintz, Fred Moore, Art Babbitt, Ward Kimball and Bill Tytla, among others.

    • Ron

      I’d also add Brad Bird to that list of directors. As for who’d play the roles you mentioned, I have some ideas….

      Roy- Joel David Moore- the gawky looking guy from Avatar.

      Ub- Tarran Killam : One of the newer guys on SNL.

      Mintz- could be anyone really since no one today really knows what he looked like. Maybe Jeremy Piven?

      Freddy Moore- Sam Huntington

      Art Babbit- Don Swayze. I’ve met him in person and he looks just like a young Art Babbit. I told him that in fact- and said he should try to play Art Babbit in a biopic. He seemed open to the idea once I explained who Art Babbit was and his contribution to history.

      Ward Kimball- Chris Diamantopoulos

      Tytla- Kevin Dillon.

      • Kevin Dillon as Tytla would be fantastically hilarious.

      • Rob T.

        Oooh, I like those casting choices (and Brad Bird as director). How about Margaret Winkler Mintz? And I probably should have mentioned Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston as well. (Too bad it’s too late for Bird to cast them in cameo roles for this one….)

      • Ron

        As Margaret Winkler – maybe Samantha Morton

        Frank Thomas – Jason Bateman

        Ollie Johnston – Jon Cryer (without his toupee’)

        Shamus Culhane – Kevin Connolly

        Marc Davis – David Cross

        Bill Peet – Topher Grace

    • Schultz!!

      I’d love to see a film like this as well – but it should be a French production made in France. It seems to me that France appreciates classic American animation and comics more than Americans do.

  • Randy

    That is remarkable! What a great (albeit fake) poster!

  • I’d love to see it too… though I wonder if Disney would let us see enough of the real Walt to make it interesting?

  • What a beautiful poster for what could/shouldd be a real film. I’m guessing the Disney Estate will never let this one happen.

  • I’ve always felt this was one of the great rags to riches stories. Maybe he’s too beloved to be portrayed by anyone, even Ryan Gosling.

  • Pretty darn impressive!

  • Richard

    Good. If that was real I’d be really pissed off.

    • Christopher

      Comments like these are useless without some sort of justification. Don’t get me wrong, I’d actually like to hear your justification, I just don’t see this as valuable to the discussion without it.

      • A speaker for Richard

        A possible justification for his sentiment above:
        The marketing of & cheaply capitalising on something that we feel they shouldn’t be. Of course if they did an absolutely fantastic job of it then we’d all forgive e’m, but the cynic in me (who often looms large) says that they probably wouldn’t.

      • Christopher

        The cynic in me generally cringes at these as well, but based on the excellently designed poster (which in my opinion does not look cheaply capitalistic) and the inclusion of Ryan Gosling (who this year alone put in three stellar performances, must less most of the rest of his career) makes me think that this would be given it’s due care.

  • It might be an interesting movie if they avoid fabricating things. Also, I could see Ryan Gosling in that role.

  • uncle wayne

    i’ve always been fascinated that that kind of film never HAS been made. I wonder why???

  • Skip

    THe film that I’d love to see, but doubt will ever be made.

  • Rob T.

    I’m kicking myself for leaving Todd Haynes off the above list. I also left off Steven Spielberg, but on purpose. He certainly has both a strong visual sense and a genuine love of animation, but some of Spielberg’s “prestige” offerings are as stodgy as anyone’s in the business. Maybe he could produce while someone else directs?

  • Justin

    Holy crap, I wanna see this! Are they really gonna make this movie?

  • Old Man Father Time

    I SO wish this was made! :D

    And with Walt being played by a voted Sexiest Man, that’s something to see!

  • stumpyuncle

    If you want to see what a film like this would look like, just go see TUCKER or FLASH OF GENIUS. Not a good idea.

    • Rob T.

      Which is why I suggested some of the alternative directors above – I’d prefer “Walt” to look more like “Ed Wood” (Tim Burton) or “Frida” (Julie Taymor) or “I’m Not There” (Todd Haynes). Or something else no one has conceived of yet – anything but the straightforward biopic portrayal of a pioneer/genius up against the mainstream. The Walt Disney story deserves better than that.

  • Geneva

    I’d think the relationship between Ub Iwerks and Disney could easily form a conflict that could carry a film. Sigh, poor Ub…

    • Aaron

      Of course you just know if they did such a film nowadays they’d feel the need to inject some homoerotic subtext.

  • Scarabim

    Contrary to the beliefs above, the Disney family has never been one to squelch books or other works that present a portrayal of Walt Disney.

    As opposed to the family of Jim Henson, who bought and then suppressed the script to “The Muppet Man”.

    • Old Man Father Time

      Muppet Man was only one part of the film. You must be glossing over the other parts on purpose.

  • Sadly, most of the comments about this poster on Reddit talk about the nasty falsehood that Walt disliked Jews. The problem is that the Walt Disney Company has historically chosen to mythologize Walt (and continues to do so) instead of allowing an honest and human portrait of the man to emerge. In lieu of facts, people will make up their own, and they’ll be much more sinister than the truth.

    • Kristjan B

      Amid, it’s a sad fact that the company still continues to mythologize Walt, since real story of Walt is fascinating on its own.

      • Scarabim

        Oh, it’s a “sad fact”? How, exactly, does the company “mythologize” Walt? Given his actual accomplishments, it hardly needs to. Give me an example, please, of such “mythologizing”. If you ask me, the current people in charge of the Disney company go too far in the opposite direction – given their penchant for buying vs. generating in-house originality or creativity, and given the fact that the name “Walt” has been excised from the nameplate of their movie and video divisions. It seems to me that the current dumb suits in charge of the company would rather forget about Walt altogether, since they in no way can equal him, and since the public still has an irritating, non-cost-effective way of expecting the same quality he was known for. Not at all beneficial to the suits’ perception of the bottom line.

      • How, exactly, does the company “mythologize” Walt?

        There’s nothing wrong with a statue in and of itself, but when that’s the type of iconography that’s consistently presented and his shortcomings as a human being are whitewashed, you end up with an entire generation that mistakenly believes he was a racist, misogynist bigot.

      • Bud

        Diane Disney, for one, tends to frown upon the “deification” of her father. Not because she doesn’t love him, but because she believes it’s diminished the truly hard work and sacrifice Walt did to create what he wanted to see. Not once, not twice, but at least 3 times, if not more, Walt mortgaged his life on an idea no one else cared to believe in.

        Walt ain’t a saint. Just a hardworking guy.

    • Ron

      I think a biopic about Walt Disney if done right, would be a good thing to reverse the unfair Deification and Demonization of Walt. It could address the myths and debunk them and still show what his special qualities, achievements and shortcomings were. Even while he was still alive, he had already achieved somewhat mythical status. I’m paraphrasing here but he was quoted as saying “I’m not ‘Walt Disney’. I drink, smoke, curse and do a bunch of other things that ‘Walt Disney’ doesn’t do.” An exploration of that idea as a theme would make a for a great biopic in my opinion. Being a fan of animation history and Walt himself, I’ve always wanted to see something like this happen. I think Ryan Gosling would be a good choice to play him.

      Question: Do you or Jerry know of any attempts that have been made to make a film like this?

  • Brendan Spillane

    Who’s gonna portray that unsung hero of the Disney empire, Ub Iwerks? Or will he be ignored altogether?

    • Ron

      See my comment above. Under Rob T.’s comment.

  • It would be great to see to see a David Lynch biofilm of Walt D, incorporating the FAMILY GUY take on Disney with the AIR PIRATES comics, animated segments directed by John Kricfalusi, soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Randy Newman. It could be as great as Lynch’s DUNE!

    • Rob T.

      Or, with a more judiciously selected set of collaborators, David Lynch’s “Walt” might be as good as “The Elephant Man” or “The Straight Story”. He’s perfectly capable of telling a coherent story when he wants to, though obviously I hope Lynch’s trademark creeps in around the edges.

  • Jackson

    Looks more like a book cover than a movie poster.

  • E. Nygma

    That’s just great art and design in that poster. Strong Concept.

  • Jim R

    Would throw one of the best biography directors into the hat – Richard Attenborough – Chaplin was a fantastic movie..

  • iseewhatyoudidthere

    A Walt Disney film would be interesting, but I’m still waiting for a film about the Fleischer Bros. directed by David Fincher. Now that would be something….interesting.

  • This is inevitable…and I want to see it.

  • Brad Constantine

    what? No cigarette?…

  • I said it once before….after reading John Canemaker’s various biographies and the collections from Dider Ghez’s Walt’s People. I think a period-biodrama mini series would be much more compelling in my view.

    Nine Old Mad Men anyone?


    • Adam

      The funny thing is that in one of my animation related classes we were asked to write down what kind of shows we’d like to see on TV, and one the ideas I came up with was exactly what you suggested, a mini-series based on the lives of the 9 old men. Really, it would be amazing to see a TV show about animators for once.

      • dbenson

        “The Duck Factory” was an intelligent stab at a Mary Tyler Moore-style workplace comedy in an implausibly tiny studio cranking out a Saturday morning show. A then-unknown Jim Carrey starred.

        Animation was used mainly as a way to riff on Hollywood culture: network execs, advertising clients, idealistic artists dealing with reality. Now and again we’d see clips from the fictional show or other work the studio did, but much of the humor would have applied to any small entertainment outfit.

        A bit of genuine coolness: Don Messick played the studio’s lone voice artist, slipping into character voices at funerals and other inappropriate moments. And every so often you got a sense they did their research, even if they rarely used it.

  • dbenson

    Over at Michael Barrier’s site there’s been a lively conversation about a particularly vicious novel about Disney (“The Perfect American”) that’s going to be adapted into an opera.

    The Disney company — even under Walt Disney himself — didn’t so much mythologize as create a corporate mascot: Uncle Walt. Before him you had film directors and stage impresarios who marketed themselves to be bigger than their hired performers; the tradition continues with an endless parade of showmen from the late Steve Jobs to the tragically still with us Donald Trump. But Disney went beyond them with a combination of canny packaging and the right platform at the right time (Sunday night TV in the boomer years). He also became a handy symbol of all his ventures . . . and all similar ventures . . . and, more importantly, a symbol of the larger society where those ventures prospered.

    Representing something much larger than one man or even one company, Uncle Walt is at once an idol and a target impossible to present as a conventional biopic (a book, however, is something different). I think the only artistically (and commercially) viable route is a fictional film with an Uncle Walt character, playing the role that eventually attached itself to Walt Disney’s actual life.

  • For your consideration,

    Jean Dujardin

    Let me know what you think.