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Tom Hanks May Be Playing Walt Disney for ‘Mary Poppins’ Backstory

Mary Poppins author P. L. Travers’ needed a “Spoonful of Sugar” to handle Disney creator Walt’s relentless pursuit of the writer’s printed works for a film adaptation back in the late 1930s. The Mickey Mouse house legend tried to persuade Travers for 14 years to create a live-action version of her flying nanny story — something cartoon-savvy Disney hadn’t explored yet. Travers eventually relented, was extremely unhappy with the studio’s finished product (the soundtrack, the animation, and more), and the whole mess is detailed in 2006  biography Mary Poppins She Wrote. Meanwhile, the Julie Andrews-starring film was a huge smash in 1964, applauded for many of the same things Travers couldn’t stomach.

Now, Deadline is reporting that the making-of, real-life tale — which they shared previously was going to become a John Lee Hancock-directed feature for Disney named Saving Mr. Banks (the titular Banks was played by David Tomlinson in the original movie), based on a Black List script — has Tom Hanks in talks to topline the project as Walt Disney. Emma Thompson is reported to be negotiating the part of Travers (Meryl Streep’s name was also being considered, of course). “The heart of this script comes from how close Travers felt to her story of a nanny with magical powers. Mary Poppins was highly personal, and reflected hardships in her own life and her relationship with her father, who died when she was 7.”

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