Tom Hanks has been pegged to play the inimitable Mr. Rogers in a biopic titled You Are My Friend, Variety reported Monday.
You Are My Friend is inspired by a part of the life of children’s TV icon Fred Rogers and his relationship with journalist Tom Junod, who wrote a profile of Rogers for Esquire in 1998. Hanks will play Rogers and the movie will be directed by Diary of a Teenage Girl director Marielle Heller.
“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,” Heller told Variety. “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.”
Fred Rogers, who passed away in 2003, created the television show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, which for 33 years gave children and adults alike tidbits of wisdom and advice to hold onto while preaching positive outlooks and the importance of being kind.
TriStar Pictures landed the rights to You Are My Friend, which will likely start production in the fall.