When Travers travels from London to Hollywood in 1961 to finally discuss Disney's desire to bring her beloved character to the motion picture screen (a quest he began in the 1940s as a promise to his two daughters), Disney meets a prim, uncompromising sexagenarian not only suspect of the impresario's concept for the film, but a woman struggling with her own past.
During her stay in California, Travers reflects back on her childhood in 1906 Australia, a trying time for her family which not only moulded her aspirations to write, but one that also inspired the characters in her 1934 book. None more so than the one person whom she loved and admired more than any other, her caring father, Travers.
Goff, a tormented banker who, before his untimely death that same year, instills the youngster with both affection and enlightenment (and would be the muse for the story's patriarch, Mr. Banks, the sole character that the famous nanny comes to aide). While reluctant to grant Disney the film rights, Travers comes to realize that the acclaimed Hollywood storyteller has his own motives for wanting to make the film - which, like the author, hints at the relationship he shared with his own father in the early 20th Century Midwest.
Did you know?
P.L. Travers never did approve of casting Dick Van Dyke as Bert in the pre-production stages of Mary Poppins. Although he claimed that it was the best film he was in, Van Dyke felt that he was miscast to play Bert and said that either Jim Dale or Ron Moody should have been cast to play Bert. Travers suggested actors like Richard Burton, Alec Guinness, Richard Harris, Rex Harrison, Ron Moody, Laurence Olivier, Peter O'Toole, and Peter Sellers for the role, in keeping with the British nature of her books. Even Travers and Walt Disney both favored Stanley Holloway for Bert, but Halloway had to turn down the role due to his obligation on reprising his stage role of Alfred P. Dolittle for the film version of Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady, which later became Mary Poppins' chief competitor in 1964. Read More