Not only has Tom Hanks voiced Woody in the heartwarming Toy Story films and portrayed Walt Disney in 2013's Saving Mr. Banks, next he's going to emulate children's television personality Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood in an upcoming biopic. With all the childhood nostalgia Hanks has going on, it's a wonder fans don't cry happy-tears at the very sight of him. Mister Rogers broke ground on television with his kids program about kindness and acceptance from 1968 to 2001. Hanks is the perfect actor to tell Fred Rogers story, and since the film recently started production, we have the first look of him as America's beloved neighbor. Check it out.
While it's recognizably Tom Hanks, he also completely disappears into the look of Mister Rogers, red sweater and all. Considering the amount of biopics Hanks has been a part of in recent years, such as The Post, Sully and Captain Phillips, we wholeheartedly believe in his ability to become a believable Fred Rogers in this upcoming film. The untitled Mr. Rogers project is inspired by a 1998 Esquire article by journalist Ron Junod, called "Can You Say... Hero?" The Americans actor Matthew Rhys will play the skeptical magazine writer who begrudgingly is assigned to profile the television personality. But through the time he spends with Rogers for the article, Junod learns about the themes of empathy and kindness Rogers sought to promote on his long-running show.
The project is helmed by The Diary of a Teenage Girl director Marielle Heller and Transparent writers Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster. The film hopes to send a message of kindness triumphing over cynicism in a time when childhood heroes such as Bill Cosby are being exposed as corrupt. Earlier this year, the late Fred Rogers was the subject of the documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor?, which explored the life and legacy created with the personality's television show. Currently, Jim Carrey is making a comeback as a Mister Rogers-like character on Showtime's Kidding, presenting a darker take on a similar persona.
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood entered the homes of many children's' homes for over thirty years and continues to have a lasting impact on its viewers. In a television landscape full of whacky cartoons and fantasies, Mister Rogers delivered grounded messages about treating your peers as neighbors, standing up for what you believe in, the importance of kids' fears and concerns, and embracing who you are in a positive way. Fred Rogers made impactful moves on his show by exposing his audience to topics such as divorce, race relations and people with disabilities. Fingers crossed Tom Hank's latest project will be a heartwarming and nostalgic experience for moviegoers when it comes out October 18, 2019.