Editors' Choice

Tom Hanks Set To Star As Mr. Rogers In Biopic

Steve Porter / February 2, 2018

News has just come out that Tristar Pictures have secured full distribution rights for a Biopic about Mister Rogers Titled “You Are My Friend”. Tom Hanks is set to play Rogers. Produced by Big Beach Films (Everything Is Illuminated, The Kings Of Summer, Our idiot Brother) The film will be directed by Marielle Heller (The Diary Of A Teenage Girl) while the screenplay will be coming to us from Micah Fitzerman (Maleficent 2) and Noah Harpster (The Motel Life). Production is set to begin in September and the film is expected to be released in sometime mid to late 2019.


Director Marielle Heller – Image Via – Youtube


When asked about the project during an interview with Variety Heller repliedThe script knocked me out with its message of kindness and it’s exploration of the human spirit”. The script has been kicking around Hollywood since 2013 even appearing on The Blacklist.


From what we can gather the film will be centered around the relationship between Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After Tom reluctantly accepted the task of writing a piece about the world’s favorite neighbour the journalist has his views about life forever transformed.  Seeing as news about the project is scarce lets give you little a history about Mister Rogers and Judd. 



Mister Rogers is a name that immediately conjures up warm nostalgic feelings of years past. I’ll bet if you close your eyes and think real hard you can imagine the entire opening of the show. Man could that guy slip on a cardigan and a pair of sneakers. No matter how things were going in your life Rogers asking you a simple question could cheer you up like no other, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”. 



Fred McFeely Rogers was born on March 20th, 1928 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Among many other accomplishments and merits Rogers is undoubtedly known the world over for Mister Rogers Neighbourhood, a 28 minute “Educational Children’s Series” Premiered on February 19th, 1968 and ran for a 31 seasons totalling 1012 episodes. Something you may not have known is that Rogers wrote many of the songs used in the show along with more than 35 books. One we can recommend with confidence is “The world According to Mister Rogers: Important things to remember”. Rogers (Tv Personality, Musician, Puppeteer, writer, producer and Presbyterian minister) Succumbed to stomach cancer on February 27th, 2003 in Pittsburgh.



Tom Junod, an American Journalist was born in 1958 who has worked for G.Q, Esquire, Sports illustrated, Life and Atlanta magazine. Some of his most notable works include: The Abortionist, The Rapist Says He’s Sorry and The Falling Man. Junod is a two time recipient of National Magazine Awards from the American Society of Magazine editors (ten time finalist). His piece about Rogers, “Can you say Hero” was originally published in the November of issue of Esquire Magazine in 1998 but you can read it here. It’s truly worth checking out.



I like to think that somewhere up in heaven Mister Rogers and Bob Ross are sitting down to have the calmest/ most relaxing chat in history. Rogers had a monumental impact on those around him and humanity on a whole. We all know how amazing of an actor Hanks is, especially when he’s given a character like Mister Rogers to really sink his teeth into.


Left: Joaquin from ‘The Master’ – Right Tom Junod


The challenge for the team at Big Beach is going to be finding the right actor to share the screen with him. Might we suggest, Joaquin Phoenix? I mean come on, it’s perfect. In a time when the world seems to be splitting at the seams it’s comforting to know that this film, with a story rooted in kindness and love is being made.


We will leave you with a quote from Fred When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”