EXCLUSIVE: Colin Farrell is in talks to join the cast of Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, the John Lee Hancock directed and Kelly Marcel-scripted saga of how Walt Disney waged a 14-year courtship to persuade Australian author P.L. Travers to sell him rights to make a film out of Mary Poppins. Deadline has told you Tom Hanks will play Disney and Emma Thompson will play Travers. Farrell will play her father, the inspiration for the Mr. Banks character played by David Tomlinson in the 1964 classic film that starred Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.
The heart of this script comes from how close Travers felt to her story of a nanny with magical powers. Mary Poppins was highly personal, and reflected hardships in her own life and her relationship with her father, who died when she was 7. Disney finally persuaded her to let him make the film, but she was prickly all the way to the end. While Mary Poppins was lauded immediately, she hated the animated sequences in the film so much that she refused to sell any of her other works to Disney. Farrell, who is repped by CAA, next stars in the Total Recall remake, and just committed to star in the Akiva Goldsman-directed Winter’s Tale.