Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks is set to star as beloved public television children’s show host Mr. Rogers in a new biopic. Production begins September on “You Are My Friend,” which is based on the real-life friendship between Rogers and veteran reporter Tom Junod. The journalist was assigned to do a feature on the host of “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” and was reluctant to do the interview. But he became charmed by Rogers and his gentle approach to children, and the two became close friends.
The film will be helmed by “Diary of a Teenage Girl” director Marielle Heller.
Fred Rogers died in 2003, but his passion for reaching children has recently struck a chord with parents and children apparently weary of today’s often flashy and corporate-driven children’s programming. A documentary about Rogers, entitled “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” premiered at this year’s Sundance Festival and is set to hit theaters later this year. “You Are My Friend” will premiere sometime in late 2019.
The work of Fred Rogers continues with his production, which currently produces three children’s shows for public television. “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” is an animated series that features characters first introduced on the original series. “Peg + Cat” targets preschoolers beginning to learn math and “Odd Squad” is a live action series that shows older kids how to use math and problem solving in the real world.
In between now and when the film begins production in September, Tom Hanks will be incredibly busy. He’s currently appearing in the award-winning film “The Post,” Stephen Speilberg’s take on the Washington Post’s attempts to release the Pentagon Papers. He’s also scheduled to voice Buzz Lightyear in the upcoming “Toy Story 4,” as well as star in the science fiction movie “Bios.” His next movie in theaters will be “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” which stars Melissa McCarthy. In the movie, McCarthy plays writer-turned-forger Lee Israel, who spent years forging & then selling letters supposedly written by celebrities,