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Saving Mr Banks - Colin Farrell and Ruth Wilson interview

Saving Mr Banks

Interview by Rob Carnevale

COLIN Farrell and Ruth Wilson talk about their experience of filming Saving Mr Banks. They were speaking at a UK press conference held during the London Film Festival…

Q. Colin, it seems as though you’re in a different movie for a lot of the time in Saving Mr Banks
Colin Farrell: Thanks for the insult [laughs]. No, please carry on.

Q. Let me put it like this. There’s a foreground story and a back-story, which is of course the one of Mr Banks. And that seems very different to any role you’ve previously played. Did it seem that way to you?
Colin Farrell: Anytime you kind of step into the fiction of another person’s skin and you go from objectively perusing the script and the character to being the subject of the story is a departure. I suppose if I was to look back at the chronology of some of the stuff I’ve done this does feel a little bit more unique. I think more than that, the characters and the sensibility of the whole film, just in reading it… sometimes you read things and you put them down and you get very analytical about them, and you think about the dialogue and you think about the characters and the whole story as a narrative, but this defied any kind of analysis. It was just moving from start to finish and funny at turns. So, I loved the character. It’s really nice to be part of work that affects people, so the whole becomes greater than the part. Unlike Emma, I did read the first page and it was my voice-over, so I thought: “Yes, this is my film!” [Laughs] And then it was like: “What do you mean I’m not the protagonist? I’m a protagonist?!”

Q. How did you develop your rapport with the young actress, Annie Rose Buckley, as your daughter? I found it immensely moving…
Colin Farrell: Custard creams and a cattle rod [laughs]. No, she is incredible. I don’t know how many actresses or small female human beings that John Lee [Hancock, director] and Alison [Owen, producer] may have met in Los Angeles, but I know they met many. And when they went over to Australia to research where the Travers-Goff side of the family were from, they saw a lot of young girls there as well. I believe it was quite an ordeal to get her legal papers, so she could work. But it was worth every single phone call. She was phenomenal. She was just really easy to work with. She was there with her twin brother and her parents were over. Our section of the film… it was such a favour that they shot it chronologically, and they boxed it all in, so it very much did feel like a film in of itself. For two weeks, we were in a house surrounded by 350 acres, scorched earth, yellow grass, and there was a lovely wooden house overlooking it all. It was just me and Ruth [Wilson] and the girls and six chickens, one horse and happy days.

Q. What was your first experience of Mary Poppins?
Ruth Wilson: Well, I used to watch it pretty much every Christmas, so I know it pretty much inside out. I love all the songs. So, it was a big part of growing up. I haven’t watched it since. We watched it around Colin [Farrell]’s house. But I’m intrigued to see it again, in order to see if I see it any differently.

Q. And Colin?
Colin Farrell: I was a Willy Wonka fan. That was my Christmas film. I know Roald Dahl hated it.

Read our review of Saving Mr Banks

Read our interview with Tom Hanks