Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson and Colin Farrell Share Their Thoughts On ‘Saving Mr. Banks’
If you’ve ever seen Mary Poppins, you probably had no idea what it took to bring the movie to life. Well that’s what Disney’s new film, Saving Mr. Banks, is about. The movie stars Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, Emma Thompson as the Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers and Colin Farrell as Travers’ father. But before you dive into the film, here are a few thoughts all three cast members shared during a press conference for the film.
On what makes Pamela Travers so much fun
Emma Thompson asked “is it not rather nice for all of us, who’ve been so well brought up, and we’re all so bloody polite all the time, Americans particularly, to see someone being rude? It’s bliss, isn’t it? I think we act quite a lot of the time in sort of conflict with what we really feel.
On how Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks captured the essence of their characters
Hanks explained that “there is a bit of a vocal cadence and a rhythm, Mr. Disney had that took a while to figure out. But a lot of the little anecdotes that we found specifically from the likes of Richard Sherman and were already in the screenplay.” He then talked about Walt’s cough and how people always knew when Walt was coming to visit their office, because they could hear him coughing from down by the elevator. He explained that they were able to put those elements in the film.
Thompson liked the word “breadcrumbs” used in the question asked because her search for the character was very “breadcrumb-y.” She explained, “she went everywhere, you can imagine, she was like going into a maze. And round some corners, you’d find this terrible monster. And round another corner you’d find a sort of beaten child.” She added that P.L. Travers “was the most extraordinary combination of things. And I suppose that was the scary thing, because in films we often get to play people who are emotionally or at least morally consistent in some way. And she wasn’t consistent in any way.”
Fun Moment: After Emma Thompson finished answering the question, Tom Hanks added “And you know what you do with breadcrumbs don’t you? [SINGS] “You feed the birds, tuppence a bag…” [EVERYONE ON THE PANEL JOIN IN] “Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag…”
On what Tom Hanks learned about Walt Disney that he didn’t know
Hanks shared that they had “the most discussed, photographed, analyzed, diagrammed, tested mustache on the planet.” He added jokingly, “I think actually documents went to United States government to discuss the angle of the shave, how much mustache was going to be there.”
In terms of surprise, Hanks explained that it “came down to the fact that really, coming from Diane [his daughter], about how much of just a regular Dad this guy was. I mean, Disneyland itself came about because he used to spend every Saturday with his two daughters. And after a while, here in L.A., he ran out of places that he could take his two daughters.” He continued, “And he was sitting eating peanuts on a park bench in Griffith Park and the girls were on the merry-go-round, he said, “God, there really should be place Dads can take their daughters on a Saturday in L.A.” And from that, Disneyland was born. So that connection that he had through very tight family. His brother Roy, his Mom and Dad who were a part of his life as soon as he had money, that was it.”
On how Colin Farrell created a bond with Annie Rose Buckley who plays his daughter in the movie
Farrell joked by saying he created with “A stick. Alternated with sugar cubes. Which I got from the horse trainer.”
He then more seriously shared that “she was just a dream to be around.” He continued, “I think people say you shouldn’t work with children or animals, but you must only work with children, because you work eight hours a day.” [LAUGHS] He then added, “From what I could tell, she didn’t exude ambition, and sometimes kids do, of course, and which is not to say she’s not ambitious and that would be fine if she was, but she didn’t exude ambition and she didn’t seem to be too fazed by any of it, and she was just a really, really sweet presence to be around. And to see how beautiful and open her face was on the monitor and just being around her was kind of like, it was the most exquisite of canvases, upon which the later life of P.L. Travers was born, as she witnessed what her father was putting himself through and thereby putting everyone else in the family through as well.”
On how they think P.L. Travers would have responded to “Saving Mr. Banks”
Thompson explained “I reckon this is a woman who kept on saying, “I-I-I don’t want anything. I don’t want a biography, I don’t want anything like that, I don’t want anyone to do or know anything about me.” Meanwhile, she kept everything she wrote and sent it for the archives at Brisbane University. So she felt, I’m certain, that she was an important contributor to the artistic, to the culture, and wanted, I think to have it preserved.”
As to what she would have said, Thompsons said (in character) “Absolutely ridiculous film. No relationship whatsoever to what was happening. But, you know, it’s about me. At last. And I thought that the clothes were really rather nice.”
On Tom Hanks’ trip to Disnleyland with his grandchildren
Hanks shared a fun story about his trip to Disneyland with his grandchildren. He took them to the theme park on the day that they shot there. He shared, “as a grandparent you see no reason whatsoever that your granddaughter shouldn’t be delighted to take a ride on the Winnie the Pooh Adventure. It’s Winnie the Pooh. It’s fun. It’s Pooh Bear. It’s Kanga and Roo and Owl. It’s Christopher Robin. It’s gonna be a blast. She’s gonna remember this the rest of her life, her ride on Winnie the Pooh’s Great Adventure. My granddaughter was terrified by the noise, the big spinning bears. She will be haunted for the rest of her days by this first image of Winnie the Pooh in a loud, short, herky-jerky ride that her grandfather forced her to do on the day he played Walt Disney in Disneyland. That is just a sample of the fantastic job I do as a grandparent.”
Saving Mr. Banks is now out in limited theaters and will open wide on December 20th. You can watch the trailer below.