Last week we learned that Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman and Ruth Wilson have joined the cast of Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks, revolving around ‘Mary Poppins’ author P.L. Travers.
Now the Inglorious Basterds star B.J. Novak will appear in the upcoming John Lee Hancock-directed movie, opposite the previously-attached Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Colin Farrell and Bradley Whitford.
Novak will play songwriter Robert Sherman, one of the most accomplished songwriters for the Disney brand. Along with his brother Richard Morton Sherman (portrayed by Schwartzman) Richard wrote the movie’s memorable songs including the Oscar-winning ‘Chim Chim Cheer-ee’ and ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’.
Hancock (The Blind Side) helms from a script by Kelly Marcel that focuses on P.L. Travers (Thompson), the woman who wrote the ‘Mary Poppins’ books beginning in 1934 and her certain fearful apprehension and later regret about bringing the character to the screen.
The script shifts back and forth between 1961 and 1907 and covers Travers’ childhood in rural Queensland and her experience negotiating with Walt Disney (Hanks) and his team to make the film out of Mary Poppins. Farrell will portray her father, the inspiration for the Mr. Banks character; Whitford is up for the role of Mary Poppins screenwriter Don DaGradi; Wilson is portraying Travers’ mother in flashbacks while Giamatti will play Travers’ chauffeur around Hollywood, Ralph.
Novak is best known for his contributions to NBC’s Emmy Award winning comedy The Office. He is also attached to the Shawn Levy-directed comedy The Internship, starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.
Saving Mr. Banks is due to begin shooting in September in Los Angeles with a late 2013 release in mind.