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Tom Hanks is to play Walt Disney in a film about the making of Mary Poppins.
The news comes after Hanks’s squeaky-clean image was tarnished after he was forced to apologise when a video emerged of him sharing a stage with a ‘blacked-up’ man at his children’s school.
The Oscar-winning actor, 55, will star as the studio creator in Saving Mr Banks, alongside Emma Thompson as Australian author P L Travers, who wrote the book on which the 1964 screen musical was based.
Disney spent 14 years trying to persuade Travers to allow him to make a film of her children’s story. The author had been reluctant to sell the film rights, but he eventually won her over.
However, Travers, who died in London in 1996, aged 96, was so upset when the movie was released featuring animated sequences that she never worked with Disney again.
Mary Poppins, starring Julie Andrews, went on to become one of the studio’s most successful projects.
The film may be just what Hanks needs to put him back in the good graces of moviegoers. The Oscar-winning actor had admitted that the incident was ‘hideously offensive’ and that he had been ‘blindsided’ as he hosted a charity auction by the appearance of another parent who had a blackened face, was wearing an afro wig and animal print costume, and was carrying a large stuffed gorilla.
Hanks uses the arrival of the blacked-up man to mock Right-wing US commentator Bill O’Reilly, who has himself often been accused of racial insensitivity.
‘A celebrity in our midst – who would have thought Bill O’Reilly would join us?’ says the actor. - Daily Mail