Essential Media Entertainment and BBC Films initially developed Saving Mr. Banks as an independent production until 2011, when producer Alison Owen approached Walt Disney Pictures for permission to use copyrighted elements. The film's subject matter piqued Disney's interest, leading the studio to acquire the screenplay and produce the film. Principal photography commenced the following year in September before wrapping in November 2012; the film was shot entirely in the Southern California area, primarily at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, where a majority of the film's narrative takes place.
The film stars Emma Thompson as author P. L. Travers and Tom Hanks as filmmaker Walt Disney, with supporting roles from Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, B. J. Novak, and Colin Farrell. The performances in the film were all superbly portrayed, especially the two leads. Thompson was impeccable, She takes charge of the central role of P. L. Travers with an authority that makes you wonder how anybody else could ever have been considered. Thompson dances her way through Travers's conflicting emotions, giving us a fully rounded portrait of a person who is hard to like but impossible not to love. Thompson's the show. Each withering put-down, every jaundiced utterance, lands with a little ping. It is her best since Sense and Sensibility (1995) and she makes the Australian-born British transplant a curmudgeonly delight. Emma Thompson prepared for her role by listening to Travers's own recordings conducted during the development of Mary Poppins, and also styled her natural hair after Travers', due to the actress's disdain of wigs. Hanks's portrayal captured Walt Disney's folksy charisma and canny powers of persuasion — at once father, confessor and the shrewdest of businessmen. Hanks as Disney, despite its brevity, the film would have been largely bland without it. To accurately convey Walt Disney's Midwestern dialect, Tom Hanks listened to archival recordings of Disney in his car and practiced the voice while reading newspapers. Hanks also grew his own mustache for the role, which underwent heavy scrutiny—with the filmmakers going so far as to matching the same dimensions as Disney's.
Saving Mr. Banks is so well made, so much fun and so wonderful that it would make Mr. Disney proud. It's a serious contender for Best Picture, lead actor, lead actress, director, screenplay and music. It’s clever and witty; the making of Mary Poppins is depicted in detail without seeing a single frame of the completed movie. Ultimately, the film lives and breathes through Hanks and Thompson. It is one of the best films Disney has ever produced!
Simon says Saving Mr. Banks receives: