Tom Hanks’ Fears Over Walt Disney Role

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November 14, 2012 | 8:41pm EST

Tom Hanks was apprehensive about taking on the iconic role of Walt Disney in upcoming film Saving Mr. Banks, because he feared he wouldn’t be able to do the movie legend justice.
The project centers on how Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers turned her work into a big-screen classic, but despite sharing the spotlight with actress Emma Thompson, who plays Travers, Hanks admits the idea of portraying Disney was daunting.
He tells, “I don’t want to p**s anybody off. I want to be accurate, more than anything else. John Lee Hancock is the director, and it’s really the story of Emma Thompson more than it’s about me, so, you know, I don’t want to screw up.”
And to ensure he was well-prepared, the star reveals he did as much research as possible so as not to disappoint die-hard fans.
He adds, “I went up to the Disney Family Museum at the Presidio in San Francisco (California). At first, I just went up to meet Diane Disney, who is Walt’s daughter, and some of the staff up there, but then they invited me back up again on a day it was closed… They just opened up all the exhibits for me, and I saw every piece of film and heard every piece of audio. I also have like 39 hours of informal interviews. It’s one thing to see him when he talks on TV but another thing to get him when he’s just having a conversation…
“He’s a fascinating guy, because what we have is this benevolent animator who would introduce us to his cartoon characters. But what he was was very tough, competitive and a very loyal businessman that invented an art form that is still going great guns today.”