Actor and all-around awesome guy Tom Hanks recently admitted that he was reluctant to accept the iconic role of Walt Disney, because he humbly feared he wasn’t good enough to do the entertainment legend justice.
The upcoming film Saving Mr. Banks stars Hanks as Disney, and focuses on the production of the 1964 Disney classic Mary Poppins. Unlike the upcoming Hitchcock, the film concentrates primarily on P.L. Travers, played by Emma Thompson, who wrote the series of children’s books that Mary Poppins is based on. Her negotiations with Disney to get the film made are only part of the film.
Though Hanks doesn’t carry the film so much as Thompson does, he was still nervous about playing Walt Disney. He told E!Online:
“I don’t want to piss 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.”
Hanks also says he did as much research into the life of Walt Disney as humanly possible in preparation for the role.
“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.”
We have to admit, we’re a little biased. We love Tom Hanks. He’s the classic American everyman, James Stewart 2.0, a creative soul, and a funny, down-to-earth kind of guy. His humility with regard to the Walt Disney role only serves to steel our faith regarding his qualification for the part.
What do you think? Will Tom Hanks do a good job as Walt Disney?