To be clear, Tom Hanks’s Mr. Rogers movie is NOT a biopic — but it’ll still inspire the hell out of you
Most of us grew up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood on PBS, so when it was announced that Tom Hanks would be starring in a biopic about the famous children’s show host, we all got excited. Tom Hanks is basically a national treasure/America’s dad, so putting him in the role of another gift to humanity? How perfect, right? Well, it turns out this Mr. Rogers movie, You Are My Friend, isn’t just a straight-up biopic.
Instead, it’s a movie that highlights the huge impact Mr. Rogers had on so many of us — particularly a certain reporter.
You Are My Friend is a true story and follows reporter Tom Junod, who profiled Mr. Rogers for Esquire in 1998, and how their encounter ended up changing Junod’s life forever. Accordingly, director Marielle Heller told Entertainment Weekly that the film is NOT a biopic but is focused specifically on Junod’s relationship with Mr. Rogers.
“It’s a story for our times, a story about kindness and family connection and trying to tap into our better self. God knows we need that right now! Heller said. “In the research for the movie, the writers found that more people than they could possibly count credited Mr. Rogers with changing their lives."
She continued, "[It’s about] one man who’s in a critical point in his life — becoming a new father, having issues with his own father — and meeting Mr. Rogers to write a piece about him, thinking it’s going to be a bit of a puff piece, but it ends up changing his entire life.
When asked about casting Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers, Heller was extremely pleased at the positive reaction to the news. After all, Hanks doesn’t necessarily look like our favorite cardigan-clad neighbor, but he has a very similar energy about him. As Heller put it, “Essence-wise, he’s in the same vein.”
We couldn’t agree more, and we can’t wait to see him in the iconic role!