Craft Talking Saving Mr. Banks

Like Mary Poppins, Saving Mr. Banks seems deceptively simple on the surface. But dig deeper, and the story resonates as a brilliant memory piece for Emma Thompson’s P.L. Travers, slipping back and forth from her painful childhood in Australia in 1906 to cooperating and subverting the adaptation of her beloved novel with Walt Disney in 1961. And that was the creative hook for director John Lee Hancock and his fellow filmmakers, including production designer Michael Corenblith, cinematographer John Schwartzman and costume designer Daniel Orlandi.

“We had two individuals that had not only recreated themselves but had also created these characters [Mickey Mouse and Mary Poppins] that turned into empires in some ways, so there were so many beautiful parallels between their two stories,” explains Corenblith. “But it wasn’t clear to me that I was going to have to bring a new level in contemplating these two periods and these two worlds for Travers until I got to the part of [Kelly Marcel's] script with the ‘Fidelity Fiduciary Bank’ song.

“There’s this remarkable moment when the Sherman brothers are composing and pitching to Travers in 1961 and then we cross this story back over and Colin Farrell [as Travers' father] turns to the camera and begins singing those words. Although they are separate, in her mind, time becomes permeable and malleable. It was in this process that we began to develop the idea of instances and icons and visual representations from one to the other and crossing over.”

Indeed, this epiphany was like a jolt from Dennis Potter’s Pennies from Heaven or The Singing Detective. Palm trees and burnt grass, maypoles and carousels bring forth the past into the present in a rush of confusion, excitement, and melancholy for the conflicted Travers. And that’s where research and serendipity came into play for the filmmakers.

Read the rest at TOH/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Books, Cinematography, Clips, Costume, Movies, Production Design, Tech, Virtual Production

Add a Comment