There will be a biopic about the iconic child entertainer Fred Rogers, and Tom Hanks will play the lovable star.
Fred, or Mr. Rogers, as he was known to millions of children, starred in the beloved children’s show, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.
The show debuted nationally on February 19, 1968 and ran until 2001. It was on different networks through the years, finally settling into a long run on PBS from 1971 until the end. It passed Captain Kangaroo as the longest running TV series for children.
When the show stopped airing, the reruns continued until 2007.
Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood can be seen on Amazon Prime these days.
Three decades of children were lucky to be able to grow up with Mr. Rogers coming into their homes each afternoon to teach them, show them how to handle problems, and be their friend.
He was soft spoken, and kind, and he really understood how to speak to kids with respect and empathy.
He began each show by coming into the house, removing his jacket and shoes, and changing into a sweater and sneakers. The sweaters were made for him by his mother.
During each episode, he spoke right to the camera, addressing the children as friends. He took us on tours of factories so we could learn how things were made. He talked to us about heavy subjects in ways our young minds could understand, such as the death of his goldfish, divorce, and even war. He also frequently told us how to deal with anger and other big feelings.
He took us to the land of make believe with a trolley whose track was on a window seat and went into a magical land of pretend with puppets. King Friday, Prince Tuesday and Lady Marmalade were a few of the make believe characters.
Daniel Striped Tiger was another character there, and is the inspiration for Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, which airs on PBS now.
Mr. Rogers also wrote the music and lyrics for more than 200 songs featured in the episodes and written for the particular subject matter.
Starting in 1979, the same subject would be covered for a week at a time, rather than focusing on a different subject each day.
It was a revolution in children’s programming. He guided so many little ones in ways that were really needed. He was kind and gentle in all situations.
Mr. Rogers passed away in 2003, and PBS had suggestions on their web page for parents to help their children understand.
The Fred Rogers life story is definitely one worthy of being told. And TriStar Pictures has obtained the rights to do so.
Marielle Heller will be directing the movie based on the script written by Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue. She says she is thrilled to make the movie. As a mom, she has been inspired by Mr. Rogers and his teachings, she said in Variety. She also said she was in awe of him and his work.
She said “You Are My Friend” blew her away because it’s full of the kindness and love for the spirit of all humans that Mr. Rogers was known for.
The inspiration for the film is an actual friendship between Mr. Rogers and Tom Junod, who is an award winning journalist.
The movie will show how the cynical newsman is assigned to write about the iconic man, and is less than thrilled about it, but finds his life changed by the gentle icon.
This movie is coming at a great time. A time when we all need to remember how kindness and empathy have the power to change things. To change hearts and heal wounds. It is sure to be an inspiration, much like the man himself.
Fred Rogers’ unfailing love and compassion for others is unparalleled. Marielle Heller is described as the right visionary to tell the story. Coupled with a terrific script and the perfect actor, Tom Hanks, to portray the beloved host, the movie is sure to be a hit for all ages.
I can’t think of anyone better to portray the star. Tom Hanks is beloved in his own right, often described as the nicest guy in Hollywood. His acting talent is beyond compare, so he is the perfect pick to play Mr. Rogers.
Production of the film is set to begin in September, 2018. “You Are My Friend” is sure to become a beloved family film.
This won’t be the first time Hanks has portrayed a real life person. He has previously portrayed Ben Bradlee, editor of the Washington Post during the Vietnam War in “The Post,” Walt Disney in “Saving Mr. Banks,” and Famous astronaut Jim Lovell in “Apollo 13.”
Hanks will have a busy year, as he is also slated to star in many other films this year, including “Greyhound,” a WWII picture which he wrote and will star in.
This won’t be the only film about the iconic Mr. Rogers. Recently, a documentary about Fred Rogers, titled “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. It is slated for release in June of this year.
Morgan Neville set out to show that the Mr. Rogers seen on tv was just as real as the man off set. Fred Rogers was just as kind and loving in real life. Everything he did, he did in love.
The two films coming up are definitely going to be must sees for any fan of Mr. Fred Rogers, and there are millions. I for one, cannot wait.
See you in the theatre!
H/T – Source