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Disney's 'Saving Mr. Banks' to Close BFI London Film Festival

Saving Mr. Banks Still Tom Hanks as Walt Disney - H 2013
François Duhamel/Disney Enterprises, Inc
BFI London Film Festival director Clare Stewart

The film stars Emma Thompson as the author of "Mary Poppins" and Tom Hanks, who is also in the fest's opening night film "Captain Phillips," as Walt Disney.

LONDON – Disney's Saving Mr. Banks, starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks and directed by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side), will close this year's BFI London Film Festival, organizers announced Thursday.

Thompson plays the London-based author of "Mary Poppins," P.L. Travers, with Hanks portraying Walt Disney in the film about the duo's relationship and how the book was brought to the movie screen. Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti and Ruth Wilson are also in the movie, which will get its European premiere at the festival.

VIDEO: 'Saving Mr. Banks' Trailer

Hanks is doing double duty at the London festival this year. Captain Phillips, directed by Paul Greengrass and starring the actor, was previously unveiled as the event's opening movie. The movie about the 2009 hijacking of U.S. ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates will get its European premiere in London.

This year marks the 57th edition of the BFI London Film Festival. Clare Stewart again serves as director of the fest.

PHOTOS: London's Royal Baby Frenzy

"There is only one word that gives full expression to the inventiveness and creativity of the film that will be our closing night Gala for the 57th BFI London Film Festival – Saving Mr. Banks is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!" Stewart said. "Positively overflowing with its ebullient love of storytelling and the filmmaking process, Saving Mr. Banks is also a magical ode to the brilliance and volatility of the two very different creative forces behind the making of Mary Poppins, with Emma Thompson superb as the protective author P.L. Travers and Tom Hanks in charming form as Walt Disney."

Said producer Alison Owen: “Saving Mr. Banks is very much about British manners versus American values, as Pamela Travers and Walt Disney battle over the rights to "Mary Poppins," so it feels absolutely fitting that the LFF closing night should be our European premiere, and we feel very honored." She added: "We hope Pamela Travers would approve wholeheartedly. We filmed the London sequences in the street where Pamela lived, and London was both the start of the journey for Mary Poppins and for our movie, so we feel like we're beginning in the right place."

John Lee Hancock, Thompson and Hanks are expected to attend the closing night gala.

The festival runs Oct. 9-Oct. 20.

E-mail: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai