For those of you bummed by the lack of Academy love for Saving Mr. Banks or bummed that Tom Hanks’ portrayal of Walt Disney in that film comprised such a small part of the running time, you may like this following bit of news. Two biopics about Disney, known as the godfather of animation and the winningest person in Oscar history, are scheduled to come out in 2014. They are As Dreamers Do, which stars Olan Rogers as Disney and focuses on his childhood growing up in the Midwest and his aspirations to draw, and Walt Before Mickey, based on Timothy Susanin’s novel that focuses on his years as a young adult on the cusp of fame.
Walt Before Mickey, from director Ari Taub, seems like it will have an easier time finding an audience than the other biopic. Susanin’s book about the visionary’s early years has the Disney family’s endorsement as well as a cast including Napoleon Dynamite‘s Jon Heder as Roy Disney and Jodie Sweetin (Full House) as Charlotte Disney. That film began shooting in central Florida in December and is aiming for a July 2014 release. As Dreamers Do, directed by Logan Sekulow, is scheduled for the spring, but carries less pedigree with it – no source material and a cast full of young, fresh-faced actors. Regardless, it already has a teaser trailer (seen below) of Nashville native Rogers sketching away as the famed animator.
Walt Disney is a fascinating character and it will be interesting to see whether or not the films confront some of the controversies behind the beloved visionary. Although Disney was brilliant and charismatic, he is also known for being a racist, anti-Semite, ultra-conservative and tyrannical studio head. The only moment from Saving Mr. Banks that did not portray him as a kindred saint was a moment where he stubs out a cigarette and explains to P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) that he tries to hide his smoking habit from the public.
If you’re interested in learning more about Disney’s roots and rise to animation genius, keep an eye out for both As Dreamers Do and Walt Before Mickey throughout 2014.