Emma Thompson on Her Role as the Author of Mary Poppins: “She’s the most difficult person I’ve ever played”

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Walt Disney remains one of the most well-liked figures in Hollywood history — heck, his name alone brings smiles to children whose parents weren’t even born in Disney’s lifetime — so finding someone to play Disney in the upcoming movie Saving Mr. Banks must have been particularly challenging.  Well, is there any argument that the actor best suited for the role is the most trusted man in America (at least according to Reader’s Digest)?

emma-thompson-tom-hanks-saving-mr-banks

Tom Hanks stars alongside Emma Thompson, who plays P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins.  The film tells the story of Disney’s pursuit of the rights to make the beloved film adaptation and Travers’ long-time resistance.  In fact, in an interview with Time Thompson admits, “She’s the most difficult person I’ve ever played.” 

She elaborates, “She was a woman of quite eye-watering complexity and contradiction.  Often I play people who are controlled by some very clear guiding moral principles. Like Margaret Schlegel [in Howards End], guided by the early principles of feminism and equal rights, and Elinor Dashwood [in Sense and Sensibility], guided by the principles of decency and honor. There are very clear moral prisms these women pour life through, and I understand that very well. And [Travers] was not like that at all. She was far more chaotic and confused and morally various.”

However, Thompson understands why Travers was so resistant to let Disney do whatever he pleased with her work.  Thompson wrote the screenplay for the children’s film Nanny McPhee and says that children are wiser than studios tend to think.  She explains, “There’s a tendency to cast aside a children’s author or children’s film and make it seem less important than those for an adult audience. Of course, I think it’s the other way around.  You can get away with dropping the ball from time to time with adult audiences but children know. You’ve really got to do your best. Letting them down is a serious failure in your artistic integrity.”

Share.

About Author

In college, overachiever Christopher McKittrick double-majored in Film and English because he loves to read, write, and watch movies. Since then Chris – who was born and raised on Long Island, New York and currently lives in Queens – has become a published author of fiction and non-fiction, a contributor to entertainment websites, and has spoken about literature, film, and comic books at various conferences across the country when he’s not getting into trouble in New York City (apparently it’s illegal to sleep on street corners...)For more information about Chris, visit his website here!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.