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Walt Disney (Hanks) gives P.L. Travers (Thompson) a tour of Disneyland. (Disney)

Emma Thompson takes on the complex role of Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers in Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks starring opposite Tom Hanks as Walt Disney.

Thompson describes the role as challenging, telling Time Magazine, “She’s the most difficult person I’ve ever played.”

The Oscar-winning actress has tackled many complex characters like Margaret Schlegel in Howards End and Elinor Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility but Thompson explains the difference between these women and Travers is that the former were, “controlled by some very clear guiding moral principles.” It was easier for her to understand those characters versus Travers who “was not like that at all. She was far more chaotic and confused and morally various.”

Walt Disney had a soft spot for the story of the magical nanny with it being one of his daughters’ favorites. Even so, Travers was hesitant and it became a struggle with the movie studio wanting to make changes. The biopic, in theaters on December 13, 2013 (January 17, 2014 in the UK), details the course in bringing the story to life.

While there was some strife, the film made it to the big screen in 1964. Travers passed away in 1996.

What do you think of Emma Thompson in character? 

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By Brigid Brown