After earlier premieres at the London Film Festival in October and the AFI Film Fest at the Chinese Theatre in November where the original Mary Poppins premiered in 1964, Saving Mr. Banks, Walt Disney Studio’s big awards contender, finally had its official Los Angeles premiere on a cool December Monday night. It took place on the very Disney studio lot where much of the movie about the making of the 1964 classic was filmed (as well as Poppins itself). And just to add a touch of nostalgia and class itself the stars of Mary Poppins Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke joined the cast of Banks including Tom Hanks who plays Walt Disney and Emma Thompson who plays the cantankerous author of Poppins P.L. Travers. At a photo opp before the film the Banks cast members along with Andrews and Van Dyke and studio execs Bob Iger and Alan Horn all joined in a spontaneous rendition of the catchy tune from Poppins, “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” (watch here). Those singing along included the indefatiguable two-time Oscar winning co-writer of that song and the entire score, Richard M. Sherman.
At the post party in a completely made-over studio commissary Horn told me how pleased they were that Saving Mr. Banks had made the AFI Top Ten Movies Of The Year list released earlier Monday. When I asked how he felt about singing with all those iconic stars he said he can’t sing and in fact was banned from trying to carry a tune in church and everywhere else. Iger also marveled at the idea he was actually singing along with everyone and modestly just said ” let’s not count the eggs before they are hatched” when I suggested that the movie was a cinch to become the Disney studio’s first home grown live action Best Picture nominee since the original Mary Poppins 49 years ago, the one and only other time the studio had such a distinction.
The 85-year-old Sherman, who has been on cloud nine since this whole ride began, said it was completely “surreal” to be back on the Disney lot with Andrews and Van Dyke celebrating this whole experience. Only in Hollywood. There’s something about the movie that really has created a team spirit. At a Saturday night cast Q&A with Hanks, Thompson, Colin Farrell, Jason Schwartzman and Bradley Whitford I moderated after a SAG screening of the film, Hanks also led everyone in a rendition of “Let’s Go Fly A Kite”. Guess it is just a movie that makes people want to sing. Hanks and Thompson had also been doing Q&As earlier that day at BAFTA and for the Academy where I am told 700 members showed up for a 3 PM Saturday matinee. Certainly Disney, which has been having a great holiday season already with Thor and Frozen, is hoping they will be singing about Banks which opens nationwide on December 20th. I am told it is tracking well. Banks opens Friday with a special engagement at the Walt Disney Studio Theatre that includes a special studio tour of spots of where the films were made. READ MORE »
Power Rangers billionaire and staunch Israel supporter Haim Saban tonight offered strong support to President Obama for his efforts to wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and his recent initiative in negotiations with Iran. “We’re out of Iraq, we’re out of Afghanistan and the military and intelligence cooperation with Israel — our staunchest ally in the Middle East, arguably in the world, has never been deeper and the president’s commitment to Israel’s security has never been stronger,” Saban said in his introduction to Obama’s remarks tonight at his Beverly Hills home, according to White House pool reports. “And “If Iran is at the negotiating table today, make no mistake about it, it is only because of President Obama’s resolve in striking them with the most crippling sanctions ever.” The event was the second fundraiser of the night for Obama and the first Saban has hosted for the President directly. (He’d hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton last month.) About 120 people attended tonight’s dinner — including Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson, Warner Bros’ Barry Meyer and wife Wendy, and Netflix’s Ted Sarandos — with tickets going for $16,200 each. (Read an edited and condensed version of the White House Pool report and official WH Press Office remarks from both of tonight’s fundraisers below.)
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Earlier in the evening, Obama was the headliner at a fundraiser at Magic Johnson’s Beverly Hills house. About 160 people including Samuel L. Jackson and Diane Keaton paid $2,500-$15,000 a ticket hear the commander-in-chief speak at the reception. Tomorrow morning the president will be attending a $32,400-per-guest breakfast event at the home of Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman (take a look at the original invite here). After that, he will visit and give a speech on the economy and the entertainment industry at big donor Jeffrey Katzenberg‘s DreamWorks Animation HQ, as well as meeting with studio bosses. Obama’s Southland visit, his first since August, is partially a makeup for a planned swing in September that was scrapped because of the Syria crisis.
Here are the pool reports: Read More »
The 2013 AFI Fest opening night at Hollywood’s famed, newly IMAX’d Chinese Theatre was as AFI president and CEO Bob Gazzale said “practically perfect in every way” — thanks in no small part to nabbing the North American premiere of Disney’s surefire Oscar contender Saving Mr. Banks. It was a no-brainer on AFI and Disney’s part to launch this holiday release (it opens domestically December 13) which chronicles the turbulent relationship of Walt Disney and Mary Poppins creator P.L. Travers during the the making of that 1964 musical classic which had its premiere at the very same theatre a half century ago. Director John Lee Hancock noted that in his opening remarks: “My life just keeps folding around. Just like in Mary Poppins it seems what happened has happened before. Fifty years ago there was a premiere here for Mary Poppins. About a year ago we were here filming the re-creation of that premiere, and now here we are again so it all just feels right,” he said. By the way, Poppins itself returns to the Chinese when AFI Fest hosts a red-carpet screening Saturday with stars Dick Van Dyke, Karen Dotrice and Oscar-winning composer Richard Sherman attending.
Related: ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ World Premieres In London – Can It Be Heading For Oscar Night?
Disney chair Alan Horn was taking congrats for the film he actually inherited when he came to the studio, and production president Sean Bailey was also singled out for praise in making this happen. Of course stars Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson were there, but both skipped the Hollywood Roosevelt after-party where Sherman was the main attraction. I told Horn this is a word-of-mouth movie if ever there was one and should be a big hit for the studio. How it fares in the Oscar race will be interesting considering the last three Best Picture winners — Argo, The Artist and The King’s Speech — all seem to be films that make audiences feel good about themselves with the former two having a special Hollywood connection just like this one. Banks seems to fit the same bill that Oscar voters have been responding to recently, effortlessly blending laughs, tears, comedy, drama and emotion. This was my second viewing in three weeks (I saw it at a small screening shortly before it had its world premiere at the London Film Festival) and it holds up. Hanks and Thompson are slam-dunk nominees here and the film has many possibilities — but it is facing weightier fare in frontrunners 12 Years A Slave, Gravity and Captain Phillips (another film with Hanks, which could make him a double nominee this year). Read More »
Barkhad Abdi had never acted before being plucked out of obscurity in Minneapolis (by way of his native Somalia and Yemen) to audition for director Paul Greengrass as the key Somali Pirate who takes over the cargo … Read More »
Anna Lisa Raya is a Deadline contributor.
The second half of Deadline’s 3rd annual Contenders event at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills got off to an energized start after lunch on the outdoor terrace. Deadline Awards columnist Pete Hammond returned with Captain Phillips star Barkhad Abdi, who had one of the bigger moments of the day when he revealed he ad-libbed his momentous “I am the captain now” line in the Sony film, essentially stealing the scene from Tom Hanks. The film’s producers, Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti, were spotted in the audience joining in the roaring applause.
Related: Deadline’s Contenders 2013 – Morning Panels
Anyone who’s been waiting for David O. Russell’s follow-up to last year’s Oscar-nominated Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle (also for for Sony), will be happy to know the film was locked down today. This is per one of the film’s producers, Richard Suckle, who was on hand to discuss the genesis of the film which is loosely based on the ABSCAM scandals of the 1970s. One of his funnier reveals was that star Bradley Cooper — not wanting to perm his hair for the film — spent hours in hair and makeup every day getting it curled. Co-star Christian Bale, on the other hand, gained 40 lbs. for his role and shaved the crown of his head to perfect his character’s outlandish comb over.
Julie Delpy, co-writer and star of Sony Pictures Classics’ Before Midnight, had a lot to say about the intense writing and preparation that went into making the film appear as improvised and natural as it does. Acting the role was “extremely stressful,” she told Hammond. “There’s no plot. There’s nothing to hold onto but character and emotional arc.” Also for SPC is Tim’s Vermeer — a documentary about one man’s attempt to recreate a Johannes Vermeer painting — which was uncharacteristically directed by Teller (better known as the other half of Penn & Teller). He was thankful for his editor, Patrick Sheffield, who made sense of the over 2,400 hours of footage. Writer Kelly Marcel was on-hand to discuss Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, the only film ever allowed to feature Walt Disney as a character. She called the studio “unbelievably brave” in how hands-off they were with her and director John Lee Hancock.
Related: PHOTOS: Contenders 2013 Gallery
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Catch up with the top film stories you missed this week:
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Tom Hanks Retraces A Life In Pictures, Talks Pitfalls Of Comedy & Freedom From Self-Consciousness At BAFTA Event
By Nancy Tartaglione - Tom Hanks was in London on Saturday to spend an evening with BAFTA. The British Academy’s Life In Pictures series is a walk through an actor or director’s career – Hanks’ this evening lasted two hours, which, considering his resumé, wasn’t nearly enough time to touch on every film.
Oren Aviv Exited As Chief Movie Marketing Officer At 20th Century Fox
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Could Disney finally be on track for a Best Picture Oscar winner of its own making? Who knows, but judging from the very enthusiastic reaction to the world premiere tonight of Saving Mr. Banks at London’s Odeon Leicester Square theatre on the closing night of BFI London Film Festival, it’s off to a good start. Deadline’s International Editor Nancy Tartaglione reports there was about four minutes of sustained applause as the end credits began and word at the Old Billingsgate after-party was unanimously upbeat with premiere-goers loving it. Initial reviews also seem to be strong. Before the film rolled an organist onstage warmed up the first-nighters with the score for Mary Poppins, the film that serves as the inspiration for this tale of how Walt Disney led a two-decades-long quest to bring notoriously reticent P.L. Travers’ classic book to the screen. Director John Lee Hancock, producers Alison Owen and Ian Collie and stars Colin Farrell, Tom Hanks, Ruth Wilson and Emma Thompson were then introduced to the crowd. Thompson remarked, “it’s very moving to have the film premiere in London… so let’s watch the damn thing”. There’s even a reference to the Leicester Square theatre in the movie.
Related: Tom Hanks Retraces A Life In Pictures At BAFTA Event Read More »
Tom Hanks was in London on Saturday to spend an evening with BAFTA. The British Academy’s Life In Pictures series is a walk through an actor or director’s career – Hanks’ this evening lasted two hours, which, considering his resumé, wasn’t nearly enough time to touch on every film. Hanks joked throughout the evening that he was getting whiplash from the fast-paced interview that started out with his early work as mostly a comedic actor, through to more serious turns in Punchline, Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, and up to his current films Captain Phillips and Saving Mr Banks.
Hanks is also in London ahead of the world premiere of Saving Mr Banks, in which he plays Walt Disney. The film tells the story of how Disney persuaded Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers to sell rights to her tale of the magical nanny. Portraying the legend came with a particular challenge, Hanks said, due to “the current atmosphere of pressure in films.” Disney, he noted, “died of lung cancer. He smoked three packs of cigarettes a day. So, can we show him smoking? No way in hell.” Hanks said there was an actual “negotiation” about whether or not he could be filmed holding a lit cigarette in a scene. He could not. That film is the closing night gala for the London Film Festival which wraps tomorrow.
Over the course of tonight’s retrospective in front of about 150 BAFTA members, Hanks shared anecdotes from his long career, starting off, improbably, with 1989’s Turner & Hooch. “It has been so long since someone has shown a clip” from the film, he said, “I’m delighted, I learned a lot from that dog.” The dog in the film was male, but Hanks called comedy in general, “such a bitch… It’s sink or swim. It can’t be faked on film. The chops you develop in comedy are chops you will not be slave to, but will serve you.” Read More »
‘Intouchables’ Helmers Set To Begin Production On ‘Samba’
The Intouchables helmers Eric Tolédano and Olivier Nakache will begin shooting their next film, Samba, at the end of October. Omar Sy, Best Actor César winner for Intouchables, stars in the social comedy alongside Charlotte Gainsbourg (Nymphomaniac, Melancholia), Tahar Rahim (The Past, A Prophet) and Izya Higelin. French major Gaumont is co-producing with Intouchables‘ Quad Productions. Gaumont will handle French distribution and sell the film internationally as it did with Tolédano and Nakache’s 2011 mega box office hit. Delivery is expected at the end of 2014. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: As international buyers begin to arrive in Toronto for the festival, Lotus Entertainment has staked a big one. Lotus has come on board to handle international sales for A Hologram For The King, the adaptation of the Dave Eggers novel that Tom Hanks will star in and Tom Tykwer will direct in a reteam from Cloud Atlas. Playtone and X Filme Creative Pool are producing.
Lotus will sell foreign rights here in Toronto to get the film ready for an early 2014 production start. CAA will make the domestic deal. Hanks will play a struggling businessman who heads for a rising Saudi Arabian city, far from weary, recession-scarred America, in a last-ditch attempt to stave off foreclosure, pay his daughter’s college tuition, and finally do something great. Tykwer wrote the script. Deadline first revealed the project as it was mobilizing in June. Read More »
Venice Film Festival Rounds Out Lineup, Adds Carrie Fisher To Jury
The 70th Venice Film Festival’s lineup is complete with the addition of five titles including Une Promesse, writer-director Patrice Leconte drama starring Rebecca Hall, Alan Rickman, and Richard Madden, which will screen Out of Competition. The fest also announced that the collective film Venezia 70 – Future Reloaded — composed of 70 short films lasting 60 to 90 seconds made by 70 directors from all over the world to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the festival — will be the second opening film at the inaugural ceremony. Also, Carrie Fisher and Mexican director Amat Escalante have been added to the International Jury. The fest runs August 20 to September 7.
‘Saving Mr. Banks’ Set For Closing Night At BFI London Film Festival
The 57th BFI London Film Festival will close with the European premiere of Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks. Tom Hanks stars as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers in John Lee Hancock’s drama about the effort to bring Mary Poppins to the screen. The fest, which runs October 9-20, will open with the continental bow of another Hanks film, the Somali pirate drama Captain Phillips from director Paul Greengrass. Read More »
Tom Hanks-starrer Captain Phillips is set as the opening-night film at the prestigious New York Film Festival next month. Directed by Paul Greengrass, the Sony Pictures film tells the true story of Captain Richard Phillips (Hanks) and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged … Read More »
Gap2000 Partners With Vladar On ‘Retardation’
Former recruitment exec Premila Puri Makh was born in Mumbai, grew up in the Netherlands and now lives in London, which she uses as a production base for a burgeoning slate of feature projects from her GAP2000 Films and Ariana Entertainment companies. Via GAP2000, which Premila built with her brother, writer-director Sameer Puri, she’s producing Retardation, a psychological suspense thriller about a man who wakes up with no memory and has to figure out where he comes from. GAP2000 has just partnered with NY-based The Vladar Company (Head Smash) to develop the project which they will shoot in India – and in English – in February 2014. Sameer Puri wrote the script and will direct. Partners are circling including a major U.S. sales company. The movie is being cast with well-known Indian actors from the indie scene and Premila has locked New York City rock band Deadbeat Darling for music. GAP is focusing on Indian films that will decidedly stray from the western vision of Bollywood cinema. Read More »
The New York Film Festival has begun unveiling films for its 2013 program, and it begins with Captain Phillips, the Sony Pictures film that Paul Greengrass directed and Tom Hanks starred in as the captain who put himself in the hands of Somali pirates instead of his crew after the cargo ship he captained was hijacked in 2009. He was rescued in a dangerous mission by a Navy SEAL team. It seemed a good candidate to grace Gotham’s prestigious festival as the opening-night film. One of the film’s producers, Scott Rudin, is a New Yorker who brought The Social Network to the festival. And the film was conspicuously absent from the Toronto and Venice lineups. Here is the official word:
New York, NY, July 29, 2013 – The Film Society of LincoOoln Center announced today that Paul Greengrass’s CAPTAIN PHILLIPS will make its World Premiere as the Opening Night Gala presentation for the upcoming 51st New York Film Festival (September 27 – October 13). Starring two-time Academy Award® winner and 2009 Film Society Chaplin Award honoree Tom Hanks in the title role, the film is Academy Award®-nominated director Paul Greengrass’s multi-layered examination of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates.
NYFF’s Director of Programming and Selection Committee Chair, Kent Jones said, “CAPTAIN PHILLIPS is a riveting experience. At this point in his working life, Paul Greengrass has become a master of immersive reality-based narratives set along geopolitical fault lines – in this case, the 2009 seizure of the Maersk Alabama cargo ship by four Somali pirates. I’m excited that this tough, tense, real-life thriller, capped by the remarkable performances of Tom Hanks and four brilliant first-time Somali actors (Barkhad Abdi, Faysal Ahmed, Barkhad Abdirahman and Mahat M. Ali), is opening the 51st edition of the festival.”
Read More »
UPDATE, 1:52 PM: Tom Hanks and Ron Howard, the star and director, respectively, of Sony’s first two tentpole movies based on Dan Brown’s novels, are returning for Inferno, we’ve learned. Hanks had been expected to … Read More »
Yesterday we got the first image of Tom Hanks as Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks. Today, we get the first trailer. Hanks plays Walt Disney, and Emma Thompson plays prickly Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers, in the true story of how … Read More »
Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson star in Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks which goes out in limited release on December 13. It’s based on the true story of how Mary Poppins made it to the screen — and the testy relationship that Walt Disney had … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Tom Hanks and Tom Tykwer are going to turn the Dave Eggers novel A Hologram For The King into a feature. Hanks will star and the film will be directed by Tykwer, the Run Lola Run … Read More »