Tom Hanks Puts On Mr. Rogers’ Shoes

Hi there, neighbor. You’ll be seeing a lot more of Tom Hanks soon.

The Academy Award-winning actor behind classics such as Philadelphia, Forest Gump, and Apollo 13, Hanks is a Hollywood heavyweight who has starred in multiple iconic roles, from Woody in the Toy Story series to Robert Langdon in the Da Vinci Code series. This week, Hanks’ next big role was announced: he will be portraying Mr. Rogers in TriStar Pictures’ upcoming biopic You Are My Friend.

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The creator behind the Emmy award-winning television series “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” Fred Rogers is most recognized for his contributions to public broadcasting and for appealing to children’s imagination using puppets, trolleys, and music for his fictitious neighborhood. Rogers died in 2003 due to stomach cancer, but his legacy thrives to this day through more than 900 episodes of his wonderful, friendly neighborhood.

To portray one iconic talent, you also need another iconic talent to match him, and man did this production score in recruiting Hanks. Hanks has been more recently involved in a string of biographical pictures featuring notable historical figures, including Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks, Rich Phillips in Captain Phillips, James Donovan in Bridge of Spies, Chelsey Sullenberger in Sully, and Ben Bradlee in The Post. He’s right at home with Mr. Rogers, although I do think he needs to lose some weight for the role. (Not fat-shaming here. Rogers is a skinny guy!)

You Are My Friend is directed by Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) and written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster (“Transparent”). Filming will begin in September with an expected release date of 2019.

– David Dunn

SOURCES: The Hollywood Reporter, Snopes
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