How Tom Hanks Became Walt Disney in "Saving Mr. Banks"

Brad Barket/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions(LOS ANGELES) — Tom Hanks always seems to transform into the characters he plays onscreen, but in Saving Mr. Banks, his resemblance to his character, Walt Disney, is uncanny.

According to the actor, 57, it wasn’t an overnight transformation. Not only did he grow his own mustache, but he also spent two days poring over archival recordings at Disney’s family museum in San Francisco. 

“I spent like six hours there each day,” he told ABC News Radio at the premiere of the movie, which hits theaters Friday. “I looked at every piece of video and heard every piece of audio and looked at every piece of artifact that was there.”

The two-time Academy Award winner said that this job was especially stressful, because he was playing the creator of Disney, in a Disney film, on the Disney lot. Bob Iger, Disney’s CEO, even called Hanks personally to say how important the movie was.

“Anytime you are playing someone real, you have to have a philosophy going for as much authenticity as you can,” Hanks said. “It is kind of like playing Teddy Roosevelt or playing Carl Sandberg. You are a mixture of myth and record. You don’t want to screw that up. You try to live up to it.”

Hanks’ performance in the film, which centers on the real-life story of how Disney convinced Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers to let him adapt her book into a movie, has garnered some early Oscar buzz, though Hanks said he wasn’t paying much attention to it.

“If there is, that’s great,” he said. “I’ll take your word for it.”

The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Source: ABC News Radio

About The Author