Tom Hanks Set to Play Mister Rogers in Upcoming Biopic

Tom Hanks will star in the upcoming biopic You Are My Friend as America’s staple TV neighbor.

Tristar Pictures announced that the 61-year-old actor is set to play Fred Rogers aka Mr. Rogers in a biopic about the life of children’s TV icon, star of the show Mister Rogers Neighborhood, which ran for 31 seasons, from 1968 until 2011.

The project is directed by Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) and based on a script penned by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster (Transparent). Heller told Variety that she is “thrilled to be making” the film.

“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.”

The film is inspired by Rogers’ real-life friendship with journalist Tom Junod, an assignment that ended up in a classic 1998 Esquire profile. Junod tweeted about the news saying, however, that the film is “very loosely” based on his Esquire story.

Rogers’ Emmy-nominated series was one of the longest-running children’s shows of all time. Seems fit that it’ll Hanks who was chosen to pay homage to one of America’s truly good real-life figures.