The Contenders 2013: Screenwriter Kelly Marcel On Emma Thompson’s Character In ‘Saving Mr. Banks’: “She’s So Horrible. How Do We Soften Her Up?” (Video)

Screenwriter Kelly Marcel came late into the process of writing her famously blacklisted script for Saving Mr. Banks (12/13). Original writer Sue Smith had crafted it more as a biopic of Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers but Marcel focused instead on the three-week period in 1961 that Travers came to Disney studios and clashed with Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks) himself as she collaborated on the nascent screenplay for the proposed film, a 20-year dream of Walt’s but also a complete pain-in-the-neck in dealing with the take-no-prisoners Travers played by Emma Thompson. Effortlessly weaving in flashbacks to Travers’ childhood and trying to warm her up were just part of the challenge as Marcel explained on the Disney panel at Deadline’s THE CONTENDERS event.

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