Everyone's favorite neighbor will soon be brought to life on the big screen! Tom Hanks is set to star as the beloved Mister Rogers in a new biopic called You Are My Friend, slated to premiere next fall. We couldn't be more thrilled with the casting, considering one of our favorite movie actors is about to play such an iconic TV personality. Now we can all agree that it is a beautiful day in the neighborhood!
The upcoming film, which takes its name from Mister 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 will reportedly begin in September, and the film is scheduled to be released October 18, 2019.
“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 The Post, which focuses on former Washington Post editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee. Though The Post was up for best picture at the 2018 Academy Awards, it's been 17 years since Hanks was nominated for an individual Oscar. (Hanks was last nominated for best actor in 2001 for his role in Cast Away, though Russell Crowe took home the trophy for his performance in Gladiator.)
“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."