Emma Thompson.
Emma Thompson.

Hollywood set for Fraser Coast

FRASER Coast actors are in for a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious shot at stardom, with a Hollywood movie about Mary Poppins author PL Travers set to be filmed in Maryborough.

Award-winning stars including Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks and Colin Farrell are already signed up for the project called Saving Mr Banks, with casting under way in Los Angeles for supporting roles in the multi-million-dollar film.

But Maryborough faces will also be featured in the movie, with additional casting to take place locally for extras, photo-doubles and stand-ins - and the producers are still looking for one talented young girl to take the coveted role as seven-year-old Pamela Travers.

Saving Mr Banks will start shooting in Los Angeles in September, and further scenes will be shot at Maryborough at a later date.

The plot's timeline will alternate between 1907, when Travers was a child growing up in Maryborough, and 1961, as she battled Walt Disney over the movie production of her books.

Scenes from Travers' childhood - shot in Maryborough - will show how she used her vivid imagination to escape from the misery at home, as her depressed mother and alcoholic father struggled to make ends meet.

Characters she created in stories told to her siblings eventually inspired the magical nanny Mary Poppins, the star of one of the most enduring and beloved children's series written.

But following the release of the 1964 Mary Poppins movie starring Julie Andrews, Travers claimed Disney had betrayed her original stories with a film she described as "all fantasy and no magic".

Academy Award winner Emma Thompson will play the Maryborough-born novelist, actress and journalist, while superstar Tom Hanks will star as Walt Disney.

Heart-throb and Golden Globe winner Colin Farrell will play Travers' alcoholic banker father, who died when she was seven years old.

The movie will be directed by John Lee Hancock, who has worked on several award-winning films including The Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock and The Rookie, with Dennis Quaid.

It is expected to be released in 2014.


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