Tom Hanks First Actor to Portray Film Legend Walt Disney

Posted on July 15, 2013 · Posted in Movie News

Usually, our blog posts are related to the Christian film industry, but this is an important film because it is a first-time portrayal of a highly esteemed filmmaker who has influenced audiences since the 1920’s to today, nearly half-a-century after his death.

Tom Hanks, well-known for movies such as Cast Away, The Terminal, and Pixar’s Toy Story trilogy, will be playing the role of Walt Disney in the upcoming film Saving Mr. Banks.

The film, set in 1961, is about Disney’s attempt to adapt Mary Poppins for the silver screen, and P.L. Travers, the protective author of the beloved books (played by Emma Thompson), who struggle to come to terms during the creative process. While clearly a dramatization, and therefore perhaps not true-to-life in every sense, fans of Walt Disney and behind-the-scenes stories will get treated to an inside-look at the Disney studios, the production process there, as well as appearances by well known figures such as the Sherman Brothers (who wrote the songs for “Poppins” and many others). As mentioned above, this is the first time that any actor has portrayed the prolific film legend in a major motion picture, and the Disney family have been very careful to guard his legacy (though, unfortunately not the company attached to his name). Hanks is said to have spent several days at the Walt Disney Family Museum (a wonderful place, by the way) preparing for his part.

Here’s the trailer for Saving Mr. Banks:

According to the director, the film is not a biopic, and it is much more focused on the character of Travers. However, due to the huge shadow cast by Disney, and the relative obscurity of Travers, it’s no wonder that Hanks’ role is getting more attention. There are still plenty of unknowns concerning the direction that the film will go and the how good of a fit Hanks will be for playing Disney; yet Saving Mr. Banks is definitely one to watch with interest as it gets closer to it’s Dec. 2013 release.

44870_mIn the meantime, I would highly recommend for anyone interested in the life, work, and legacy of Disney to check out Walt Disney: A Christian Critique for a delightful symposium on this giant of the entertainment industry, featuring talks by Doug Phillips, Geoffrey Botkin, and Isaac Botkin. In the 3-CD set they delve into Walt’s films, his driving principles, and his accomplishments; commending him for the many reasons he was worthy of honor and emulation, but also taking the time to learn from the areas where he was flawed and confused. It’s well worth a listen for any Christian – but especially if you are interested in filmmaking, the arts, entrepreneurship, and seek to be more self-conscious in your Christian worldview – this look at Disney will leave you inspired to strive for greater excellence to the glory of God.