Everyone's favorite neighbor is returning to TV screens, with Tom Hanks playing the beloved Mr. Rogers in a new biopic called You Are My Friend. We couldn't be more thrilled with the casting, considering our most-loved movie actor is about to play our cherished TV personality. Now we can all agree that it is a beautiful day in the neighborhood!
The upcoming film, which takes its name from Mr. Rogers' song "You Are Special", centers around the relationship between Fred Rogers and Tom Junod, an award-winning journalist whose cynical outlook on life is transformed when he rather unwillingly accepts a job writing a profile of Rogers. Marielle Heller, who directed the 2015 coming-of-age comedy/drama The Diary of a Teenage Girl, will helm the project, according to Variety. Production is set to begin in September.
“I’m thrilled to be making You Are My Friend,” Heller said. “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.”
Hanks, who is no stranger to portraying real people on the big screen, most recently starred in the film Post, which focuses on former Washington Post editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee — a role which earned him an Oscar nomination. Neither the film's release date nor information about additional casting has been revealed yet, so stay tuned!
“Now more than ever, we all need a re-introduction to Fred Rogers’ message of uncompromising love and kindness between all living things," said Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf, who work with the production companies involved. "We have the quintessential actor to play Fred Rogers."