I knew the story of P. L. Travers’ unhappy experience in L.A. during the making of the Mary Poppins movie, but hadn’t heard until now that Disney has turned that story into a movie as well, “Saving Mr. Banks,” out this December. With Emma Thompson as Travers and Tom Hanks as Disney, this post about the new movie’s script and the following trailer has me hopeful.
One response to “Travers and Disney”
I have several friends who work for The Mouse in various capacities — writers, directors, producers, actors– and I have to restrain myself when they squee with excitement about this film. There’s a gap between those who believe that Walt Disney did Travers an enormous favor by making her and Mary Poppins famous and beloved around the world and think Travers was an ungrateful b****, and myself, a writer, identifying with Travers’ objection to her story being rewritten. Disney’s “Mary Poppins” is fanfic, taking an existing story and “reimagining” it to remove the parts one doesn’t like (in this case, noncommercial elements) and adding parts one does (i.e. commercial cuteness). My Disney friends see Walt as the hero and Travers as a sad, lonely woman who had to be skooled by Walt about her own intentions in her novels ( she’s writing about….HER DAD! And SHE DIDN’T KNOW!). I see it as a guy who saw a potentially profit-making launch for then high-tech visuals (animation interacting with real actors), full of j’accuse parental guilt and warm, squishy Feels about Honesty, Goodness, and Purity, while using a contract loophole to ignore promises made to the writer. Well, “Saving Mr. Banks” is a Disney film, so one can’t expect it to show Walt in a bad light. My Disney friends don’t want me harshing their squee, but instead for me to drink the Kool-Aid. (I’ve told them that the only way I’ll ever go to Disney World is if I can run around blasting a Sooper-Soaker and yelling, “THIS IS FOR BAMBI’S MOM, MUTHA*******!”)