Tom Hanks to play Fred Rogers in upcoming biopic
It’s kind of impossible to come up with two names that make us think “comfort” and “safety” like Tom Hanks and Fred Rogers. Like many card-carrying Xillenials, I’m a huge fan of both, and the idea of Hanks playing someone who had such a pivotal role in my childhood is downright heartwarming.
Variety announced the exciting news yesterday that Hanks is set to star in a story focused on Rogers’ life.
— Variety (@Variety) January 29, 2018
The biopic is called You Are My Friend and will be distributed through TriStar Pictures. Diary of a Teenage Girl’s Marielle Heller will direct from a script by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster.
Heller tells Variety, “I’m thrilled to be making ‘You Are My Friend.’ The script knocked me out with its message of kindness and its exploration of the human spirit. As a mother, I am so inspired by the teachings of Fred Rogers and as a human I am in awe of his life’s work. I can’t wait to bring his story to the public and be a part of such a thoughtful, smart group of people who are all coming together to make this film, which truly feels to me like an antidote to our very fractured culture.”
The film will be based on journalist Tom Junod’s real-life friendship with Rogers, who he was tasked with writing a profile piece on 20 years ago. The two remained friends, and through their relationship, Junod’s life changed.
It is finally happening, and in the best of ways: a movie, very loosely based on the article I wrote for @Esquire 20 years ago, with Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers, two innovative screenwriters from "Transparency" scripting, and Marielle Heller directing. Well-timed, for this moment. https://t.co/JWsOCmL6XB
— Tom Junod (@TomJunod) January 29, 2018
“Now more than ever, we all need a re-introduction to Fred Rogers’ message of uncompromising love and kindness between all living things. Mari Heller is the perfect visionary filmmaker to bring Noah and Micah’s script to life and because of her vision and this remarkable script, we have the quintessential actor to play Fred Rogers,” say the movie’s producers Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf.
The internet is pretty much losing it over the intoxicatingly comforting combo of Tom Hanks and Mr. Rogers.
After playing Walt Disney, Tom Hanks is going to star in a Mr. Rogers biopic. In these terrifying times, only Tom Hanks can heal us and bring us together. He is the National Dad. https://t.co/Iq8tIPAmrn
— Jordan Zakarin (@jordanzakarin) January 29, 2018
That’s exactly it. Tom Hanks is everyone’s dad, and Mr. Rogers is simply the best human ever. Combining the two is a cinematic dream.
Yesterday I'd have told you, "A Mr. Rogers biopic? Meh. He was a great man, I don't know that his life would make a good movie." Today. Tom Hanks is going to be Mr. Rogers.
Me: SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY! https://t.co/F8Az7CfGMu
— Aprlyne Awesomewords (@AprilynnePike) January 29, 2018
Let’s get one thing straight — Mr. Rogers is never “meh” but Tom Hanks’ involvement definitely makes this a future must-see.
This casting is way too perfect. And Mister Rogers absolutely deserves the biopic treatment. He's one of the greatest communicators of the 20th century, hands down. https://t.co/7Em2XuEFdo
— Cliff Lewis (@Cliff_Lewis) January 29, 2018
Can't wait for the slow, ominous cover of "Won't You Be My Neighbor" in the trailer. https://t.co/oTl05euiLW
— Craig (@CraigatPorlock) January 29, 2018
OK, we hadn’t considered that, but we’re here for it.
Yes. Sold. Dressing up in a cardigan and sneakers for the midnight show. https://t.co/UZyUwhZHg9
— Jennifer Wright (@JenAshleyWright) January 29, 2018
Good thing my mom wardrobe is basically leggings paired with 43 different cardigans. Won’t you be my neighbor? Bring wine, obviously.
Alternate headline: Mr. Nice Guy Plays the OG Mr. Nice Guy https://t.co/DitHfdpQy8
— Lisa Palmer (@TVTherapy) January 29, 2018
Well, @tomhanks is gonna play Mr. Rogers. I can't overstate how much Fred Rogers shaped the better parts of my nature and made me believe kindness and understanding are worthy virtues, and I can't wait to see this project reach fruition. pic.twitter.com/74QAcUXNk1
— Jared Petty (@pettycommajared) January 29, 2018
Tom Hanks got Oscar snubbed for playing:
If he doesn’t get nominated for playing Mr. Rogers… pic.twitter.com/bDWvcWK5Ln
— LightsCameraJackson (@LCJReviews) January 29, 2018
Honestly, I will take to the streets in my very best cardigan and protest if Hanks is snubbed for this role.
There’s no word yet on when the film’s production will start, but it honestly can’t happen soon enough. When a childhood icon as beloved as Mr. Rogers gets the biopic treatment, it’s only fitting that someone we hold in as high esteem as Hanks would play the role. We’re so glad this will be done right.