Tom Hanks: See the Actor Play Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks

Entertainment Jul. 12, 2013 AT 8:00AM
In Saving Mr. Banks, Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) shows Disneyland to Mary In Saving Mr. Banks, Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) shows Disneyland to Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson).

The resemblance is uncanny: Tom Hanks suits up (and sports a mustache) to portray the legendary Walt Disney in the upcoming movie Saving Mr. Banks. In the first official still from the film, the actor shows author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) around Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif.

When Disney's daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, Travers' Mary Poppins, he promised to deliver. It took him 20 years to obtain the rights -- and when he did, he was forced to deal with its curmudgeonly, uncompromising author. "She's the most difficult person I've ever played," Thompson, 54, tells TIME of her character. "She was a woman of quite eye-watering complexity and contradiction."

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The film tells the story of Disney's quest to make the classic 1964 Mary Poppins movie that starred Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.

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"Often I play people who are controlled by some very clear guiding moral principles," says Thompson, a two-time Academy Award winner. "There are very clear moral prisms these women pour life through, and I understand that very well. And [Travers] was not like that at all. She was far more chaotic and confused and morally various."

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Directed by John Lee Hancock, the film also stars Colin Farrell, Rachel Griffiths, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak. Saving Mr. Banks will be released nationwide on Dec. 20, 2013.

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