A New Trailer For The New Walt Disney Biopic ‘Walt before Mickey’


If you didn’t enjoy the Disney Company’s make-believe version of Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks, fret not, an independent company has now produced their own fantasy Walt biopic: Walt before Mickey. Though it might not appear so from the melodramatic trailer, the film is based on a legitimate piece of research: Timothy Susanin’s recent book Walt before Mickey: Disney’s Early Years, 1919-1928.

Walt before Mickey is helmed by freshman feature director Khoa Le, and stars Thomas Ian Nicholas (American Pie) as Walt Disney and Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) as Roy. The film does not have a distributor yet. Check out the trailer below:

I hope the film has a lot more scenes of Walt throwing tantrums:


…and of Ub Iwerks body-slamming other people against the wall:


Don’t miss any updates from Cartoon Brew. Join Cartoon Brew on Facebook!

  • jonhanson

    I was hoping this movie would turn out well but it ended up looking like a parody of bio-pic. I mean I feel like you could play this trailer side by side with the one for Walk Hard, just replacing music with “animations.”

    Also, lets not forget the other film released this year covering the same ground, As Dreamers do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NKvSNLWtbE

    • http://sobieniak.blogspot.com/ Chris Sobieniak

      Certainly the year of Walt.

      As an anachronism only I bother to notice, I see they use a Bolex H16 camera in this trailer.

  • Fungo Johnson

    Elias Disney got furious (and whaled the tar out of young Walt) for drawing on the side of their family home with tar, not sketching animals on the side of the barn in chalk. Is hot tar not p.c. in 2014, or did focus groups deem that gooey, onyx substance non-relatable to contemporary audiences? Tar is very much around today as a roofing material but no longer quite the part of daily life that it was in America’s agrarian past.

    • Dan

      I’m going to chalk it up as the audience will have an easier and faster time recognising chalk that’s used here than if they had him use tar.

      • Fungo Johnson

        Yes but taking such creative license alters history and further removes our time from the timeframe in which it took place. Rural America was rougher around the edges then than it is in the era of bite-sized, unit-priced retail commodities. It wouldn’t be an issue were this film not based on a ‘legitimate piece of research.’

        • http://sobieniak.blogspot.com/ Chris Sobieniak

          I would’ve loved it if it was tar!

      • Dave

        “chalk it up”
        “whaled the tar”
        Oh you guys!

    • bob

      I would assume a change like that would be put to use as a tool to get audiences to sympathize with wittle walt. As inaccurate as it might be.

  • Trevour

    “I can’t pay for your animationS anymore.”

    I can’t pay to see this live action anymore.

    • Barrett

      Maybe back then people said that. Though I suspect what they actually would have said was “cartoons” or at best “animated cartoons.” “Animation” as a standalone term for a piece of animated film doesn’t seem to be common before the 50s from what I have read/heard.

    • A Stranger in the Alps

      Animation is also a process, used relatively interchangeably with “animating”. “I can’t pay for your filmmaking anymore” vs “I can’t pay for your filmmakings anymore”.
      (Or maybe “I can’t pay for your painting anymore” vs “I can’t pay for your paintings anymore”, since both are correct with slightly different meanings.)

  • Strong Enough

    i get so many versions of walt disney the man is slowly becoming a mythic figure that only lived in my imagination.

    will the real walt please stand up?

    • http://sobieniak.blogspot.com/ Chris Sobieniak

      Well, history as a way of doing that anyway, what else are they going to teach in you school! :-P

  • Delta

    Wait, I thought Walt wasn’t a good artist? I mean, he was an animator until it got so complicated that even he admitted to being unable to do it. He was a businessman after all, and his greatest talent was bringing talented people together…

    • https://vimeo.com/channels/wharton Brett Wharton

      I would probably revise to say “not a good draftsman” but he had other artists working for him right away – from Plane Crazy, the first Mickey short, onwards. I’m not sure if he ever personally animated on Oswald or the Alice Comedies though.

      • otterhead

        Walt personally did all the animation on the first ten (I believe) Alice comedies, according to Shamus Culhane’s book. I don’t think he did anything on Oswald.

    • Elliot

      He was mostly a good storyteller which is the most important factor in animation or any movie which many tend to forget.

      • Delta

        Yeah. Judging from what the Nine Old Men have said, Walt seems to have had a keen eye with timing, composition, and characterization.

  • Noah Miller

    I’d rather see his biopic animated. it would also be cool if it was a collaboration between studios and artists with varying styles and types.

  • Chris

    Seems to me if you make a movie about a young Walt Disney, he should be chain-smoking like a chimney.

  • Elliot

    Just once I’d like to see a well-made movie done in a realistic way w/o the usual Hollywood kitsch, romanticizing Disney. I also don’t think he should be demonized but shown more in the way he was. I guess I’ll stick to the various books/interviews of the artists who actually worked for him in the mean time.

    • DangerMaus

      In other words just make a documentary about him.

      • Delta

        There is one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L-31ItB3GY
        I know it may not be wholly accurate, but the texts and videos that I give some credibility to are the ones where the Nine Old Men actually talk about him. So they may be biased, but I think that’s inevitable…

  • Leonard Bast

    I did enjoy the Walt Disney Company’s make-believe version of Walt Disney in “Saving Mr. Banks,” so I suppose I need not fret.

  • Doug

    I don’t think it was supposed to be, but this looks hilarious. Cornball, mystery-science-theatre type of funny. hehehehe

  • Marzipan

    Some people will always characterize Walt according to their own hangups, flaws and personal agendas (looking at you, Meryl Streep). But me, I’ll listen to Karen Dotrice, Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Richard Sherman, Floyd Norman, and other people who actually worked with the guy as to what he was like. I’d like a truthful interpretation of the man, not a caricature trumped up by sneering condescending armchair analysts.

    And “Saving Mr. Banks” was very good. If anything, it was much kinder to P.L. Travers than it was to Walt.

    • Barrett

      “Saving Mr. Banks” was an entertaining film, but at no point did I “buy” Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. The character he portrayed was an interesting one, but I didn’t feel like it was Uncle Walt in any way, either the public persona or the mercurial master as drawn by recollections of animators and colleagues.

  • Steven Bowser

    I just watch Saving Mr. Banks last night and I thought it was wonderful. I appreciated that Disney was okay with painting a realistic picture of Walt, and that they neither made him a saint or a monster. He was an incredible entrepeneur and storyteller, but he was a flawed human like all of us.

    • Maynard

      Except Walt could not be shown actually smoking a real cigarette in a 2014 theatrical film. The real Walt Disney smoked four packs a day and had a signature smoker’s cough. Hanks actually tries to replicate it at one point but it seems as if it was cut short in the editing.

      • Steven Bowser

        There is a scene where she walks in on him smoking and he says he doesn’t want to be seen smoking because it’s a bad example. I don’t know if that’s what he would have said, but he did smoke at least once in the film.

  • Walt Mus-ney

    *sees mouse on desk* Looks cheesy. ; )

  • Barrett

    Nitpick: wouldn’t he paint the fill color for that “Laugh-O-Gram” sign on the back side of the glass? From what I’ve seen, most old-fashioned painted door signs were done that way.

  • Barrett

    That would be my biggest problem with such a change. A parent being enraged over chalk drawings makes them seem like closed-minded dullard who hates creativity. A parent enraged over a bunch of tar being smeared on the outside of the house is perfectly understandable to almost anyone, especially parents!

  • http://jesse-the-art-maker.deviantart.com/ Jesse Ray Garza

    looks like it might be good!