Hollywood Nice Guy to Star in Mister Rogers Biopic

A-Lister Tom Hanks will play Pittsburgh’s most beloved neighbor in “You Are My Friend.”

Hanks photo: shutterstock; Fred Rogers courtesy Fred Rogers Co.


Mister Rogers clearly made a lasting impression on today’s filmmakers. Though Fred Rogers himself never graced the big screen, yet another film project related to the longtime PBS star has been announced, this time with a very big name attached to the project — Tom Hanks.

Hanks will play Rogers in a biopic called “You Are My Friend,” according to a report by Variety. The film, to be produced by Big Beach Films, follows the friendship of Rogers and journalist Tom Junod, who wrote “Can You Say…Hero?” about Rogers in November 1998 after being assigned to profile the TV legend. The script reportedly paints Junod as a cynic who accepts the assignment reluctantly then finds his worldview changed by Rogers’ infectious kindness and generosity.

TriStar Pictures purchased the international distribution rights for the film, which will start production in the fall.

“This is the perfect alchemy of talent coming together at the perfect time to remind us all of the transformative power of kindness and respect to heal and to unite,” said Hannah Minghella, president of TriStar Pictures.

This announcement comes a week after the Sundance premiere of another film about Fred Rogers, the documentary "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" Another documentary, “Mister Rogers & Me,” created by Rogers’ real-life neighbor Benjamin Wagner, debuted in 2010.

Marielle Heller will direct “You Are My Friend,” which was written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster.

“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,” Heller says.

Categories: The 412