It seems that 2018 has been a renaissance year for the beloved Mister Rogers, and a new photo posted on Twitter indicates Tom Hanks is adding his own project to the mix.
Tentatively titled You Are My Friend, the film will be about Fred Rogers, the television personality who charmed millions of children in his four decades as host of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. The first set photo posted today by Sony Pictures reveals that Hanks will portray Rogers.
Tom Hanks is Mister Rogers, coming to a neighborhood near you October 2019. pic.twitter.com/2TP3eiPUCx— Sony Pictures (@SonyPictures) September 27, 2018
Few details have been announced, but screenwriters Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster have said the film will focus on Rogers' friendship with journalist Tom Junod, who will be played by Emmy-winning actor Matthew Rhys (The Americans). The pair met when Junod was writing a piece on Rogers for Esquire Magazine in 1998. They remained close until Rogers died of cancer in 2003.
Director Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) has stated that the film is not a traditional biopic, focusing instead on a narrower portion of Rogers' life and how his friendship changed Junod's life. Heller has also said that Hanks is a perfect choice for the role, not because of a strong physical resemblance but because of their shared qualities and kindness.
This will be the second movie to be produced in recent months about the legendary personality. A documentary about Rogers' life and work was released in June, 15 years after his death. Won't You Be My Neighbor? had its first trailer released on what would have been Rogers' 90th birthday, and the movie went on to be a huge success at the Sundance Film Festival before its wide release. Only a few months after its premiere it had grossed more than $22 million, making it the most profitable documentary of all time.
In addition to Hanks and Rhys, You Are My Friend will star Chris Cooper (American Beauty) and Susan Kelechi Watson (This Is Us). The film is expected to premiere Oct. 18, 2019