Saving Mr. Banks – a film about the long and difficult process of making the Disney musical Mary Poppins – had its world premiere in London on Sunday night.
The film, which stars Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, officially brought this year’s BFI London Film Festival to a close.
Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks walked the red carpet in Leicester Square to the delight of hundreds of fans who had braved heavy rain earlier in the day.
The film focuses on the real-life battle of wills between prickly author PL Travers, played by Emma Thompson, and Walt Disney over the movie rights to her famous literary creation.
Directed by John Lee Hancock, the film is already being tipped for Oscar success.
This year’s BFI London Film Festival kicked off with maritime thriller Captain Phillips, a true story in which Tom Hanks plays a ship’s captain taken hostage by Somali pirates in 2009.
Speaking about his role as Walt Disney, Tom Hanks said: “In a lot of ways Mary Poppins was the crowning achievement of everything he did, it won all the Academy Awards, it was a huge monster hit and it was the last movie that he truly was hands-on.”
In reality, Walt Disney had spent some 20 years in pursuit of the film rights to Mary Poppins. The main focus of the film is the two weeks in 1961 that PL Travers reluctantly spent with Walt Disney in Los Angeles as he tried to win her over.
During the visit she was played songs by the Sherman brothers, which ended up in the 1964 film, such as A Spoonful of Sugar and Let’s Go Fly a Kite.
PL Travers, who died in 1996, so disliked the Oscar-winning Disney production that she never allowed any more Mary Poppins books to be adapted into films.
The cast of Saving Mr. Banks also includes Irish actor Colin Farrell and English actress Ruth Wilson, who play the parents of the young PL Travers in 1906 Australia.
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