The new film stars Tom Hanks as the Hollywood dream-merchant and Emma Thompson as P L Travers, the author of the Mary Poppins books, who was fiercely protective of her heroine and feistily determined to be heard in script conferences with the film's screenwriter, Don DaGradi, and the soon-to-be-legendary Oscar-winning song-smiths, Richard and Robert Sherman.
Saving Mr Banks, which skillfully interweaves, the Burbank back-stage story with that of Pamela Travers' difficult childhood growing up in Australia, has brought back many memories of this extraordinary – but far from easy – woman who was, for many years, a friend and, for a brief while, a collaborator when, in the mid '80s, we worked on a to-date unmade sequel to Disney's 1964 box-office triumph, provisionally entitled Mary Poppins Comes Back.
What followed (or, at least, some of what transpired) is revealed in an article by Vincent Dowd, who recently interviewed me for the BBC World Service –– Mary Poppins: Brian Sibley's sequel that never was.
At the time all this was happening, another friend of mine, Academy Award-winning Animator Richard Williams, was working for the Disney studio as Animation Director on Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Dick made me a drawing that still hangs on my wall as a reminder of a project that nearly-almost-might-have-happened...
In the end, like the hapless Roger, I (and Mary Poppins 2) went headfirst down that manhole, but it was a memorable trip!
You can read more in past blog-posts about P L Travers and 'our' film, here and here.