How Tom Hanks Became Walt Disney

VIDEO: The Oscar winner discusses taking on the role of Walt Disney.
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By ABC News' Florinda Ricks:

Tom Hanks always seems to transform into the characters he plays on-screen, 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. (The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of ABC News.)

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"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.

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"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."

He was successful. His 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."

(Photo credit: Francois Duhamel/Disney)

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