Tom Hanks to Star in a Mister Rogers Biopic

Tom Hanks to Star in a Mister Rogers Biopic

Jan 29, 2018

He's portrayed Walt Disney, now Tom Hanks will take on another children's entertainment icon. According to Variety, the actor will play Fred Rogers in a biopic about the late kids' TV show host. You know Rogers best as "Mister Rogers," whose Mister Rogers' Neighborhood debuted in an early form on Canadian television in 1963 and later moved to PBS where it continued airing new episodes through 2001. 

Hanks is certainly a good fit for the part, considering his reputation as the nicest guy in Hollywood. Picture him with a zippered cardigan and tie singing "Won't You Be My Neighbor" and talking to puppets in the world of Make-Believe. It's the easiest casting to imagine of all time. The Academy is probably already gearing up for the Oscar nomination Hanks will receive for the performance, which won't entail a full life story. 

The plot of the movie, titled You Are My Friend, will follow the friendship between Rogers and journalist Tom Junod (read an old Esquire article about the former by the latter here). The focus will be on reminding viewers of the children's show host's "transformative power of kindness and respect to heal and to unite" and his "message of uncompromising love and kindness between all living things."

The news of the biopic, which will be helmed by Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) from a Black List script by Transparent writers Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, comes on the heels of another Mister Rogers movie premiering at Sundance last week. Morgan Neville's Won't You Be My Neighbor? is one of the most anticipated documentaries coming out of the festival, where it received rave reviews and currently sits at a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes

Here are some of the critical reactions to the doc:

"[It's] like peering into the past with renewed clarity and wishing his civility had caught on...a powerful reminder that he was either way ahead of his time, or too late," writes Eric Kohn at IndieWire.

"This is an informative documentary, but it’s more special than that...this one is a cut above," praises Evan Saathoff of Birth.Movies.Death.

"It's a documentary you want to hug," says The Hollywood Reporter's Dan Fienberg.

"I did not expect to cry as much as I did," confesses Matt Goldberg of Collider.

"If only for a few hours, this documentary proves that human kindness can be contagious," offers J.R. Kinnard at Nonfics.

Won't You Be My Neighbor? will be released theatrically by Focus Features on June 8. You Are My Friend was just set up at TriStar Pictures, but no release date has been set. 

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