American Televison’s friendly neighbour Fred Rogers, commonly known as Mr Rogers, is going to be immortalised in a biopic starring Tom Hanks. Titled You Are My Friend, the film, backed by TriStar Films, is helmed by Diary of a Teenage Girl director Marielle Heller with a script by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster.
While talking about the project, Heller told Variety, “I’m thrilled to be making You Are My Friend. 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.”
Earlier too, a documentary by Oscar-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville titled Won’t You Be My Neighbor? explored Rogers’s three-decade long career featuring various interviews and rare footage but You Are My Friend is based on a completely different side of Rogers. Inspired from a real-life relationship between Fred Rogers and Esquire journalist Tom Junod, the film traces how a cynical journalist’s view on life transforms completely after he reluctantly accepts to write a profile piece on the beloved icon Rogers.
It is finally happening, and in the best of ways: a movie, very loosely based on the article I wrote for @Esquire 20 years ago, with Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers, two innovative screenwriters from “Transparency” scripting, and Marielle Heller directing. Well-timed, for this moment. https://t.co/JWsOCmL6XB
— Tom Junod (@TomJunod) January 29, 2018
Announcing the news on Twitter, Junod also tweeted, “It is finally happening, and in the best of ways: a movie, very loosely based on the article I wrote for @Esquire 20 years ago, with Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers, two innovative screenwriters from “Transparency” scripting, and Marielle Heller directing. Well-timed, for this moment.”
Last seen in The Post, Tom Hanks is no stranger to playing real-life roles. In the Oscar nominated The Post too, Hanks played Washington Post editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee. He also played the legendary figure of Walt Disney earlier in Saving Mr Banks.