John Lee Hancock’s new film, “Saving Mr. Banks," about Walt Disney’s efforts to persuade testy British author P.L. Travers to make her "Mary Poppins" novels into a screen musical, is one of an increasingly rare breed: a studio picture shot in Los Angeles.
Speaking at the Envelope Screening Series, Hancock and Tom Hanks, who plays Disney in the film, discussed the advantages of shooting locally, including on the Disney lot and at Disneyland.
“It was a real treat to shoot here,” said Hancock, who lives in L.A. “I think it carries over to the crew: The crews are fantastic here. People sleeping in their own bed and then showing up to work the next day, there’s something that builds a different kind of community than when you’re on location, I felt.”
He added, “When you talk about shooting at Disneyland or on the Disney lot, it’s such an advantage and you pinch yourself over and over, because especially on the Disney lot, this is the exact place where a lot of these things occurred. ... We tried to really be almost quasi-religious about how exact they appear, like old animation, etc., the backdrops, all that.”
Hanks agreed. Filming at Disneyland in particular was “fabulous,” he said. “When you’re there and it’s not open yet, and the public is not there, it’s a tiny place. ... You can walk from the submarines to Autopia to the line for the Matterhorn in seven seconds. ... It’s astounding. And then when the park fills up during the course of the day, it seems like it’s as big as Texas.”
Hanks added, “For us to be there ... and everyone’s dressed up like it’s 1961 and whatnot, it was like an E-ticket attraction.”
For more from the cast and crew of “Saving Mr. Banks,” watch the full clip above, and check back for daily highlights.