The project centres on how Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers turned her work into a big-screen classic, but despite sharing the spotlight with actress Emma Thompson, who plays Travers, Hanks admits the idea of portraying Disney was daunting.
He tells Eonline.com, “I don’t want to p**s anybody off. I want to be accurate, more than anything else. John Lee Hancock is the director, and it’s really the story of Emma Thompson more than it’s about me, so, you know, I don’t want to screw up.”
And to ensure he was well-prepared, the star reveals he did as much research as possible so as not to disappoint die-hard fans.
He adds, “I went up to the Disney Family Museum at the Presidio in San Francisco (California). At first, I just went up to meet Diane Disney, who is Walt’s daughter, and some of the staff up there, but then they invited me back up again on a day it was closed… They just opened up all the exhibits for me, and I saw every piece of film and heard every piece of audio. I also have like 39 hours of informal interviews. It’s one thing to see him when he talks on TV but another thing to get him when he’s just having a conversation…
“He’s a fascinating guy, because what we have is this benevolent animator who would introduce us to his cartoon characters. But what he was was very tough, competitive and a very loyal businessman that invented an art form that is still going great guns today.”