At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, one of the documentaries that seemed to be getting the most attention was Won’t You Be My Neighbor, Morgan Neville’s re-examination of childhood TV icon Mr. Rogers. The doc was acquired by Focus Features last year and is expected to get a theatrical release in June, but in the meantime, it appears that TriStar Pictures is already in the process of setting up the inevitable Hollywood biopic. This week they have announced that Tom Hanks is attached to star in You Are My Friend, a drama inspired by the real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod, who found himself changed after being assigned to write a profile on Rogers. Marielle Heller (Diary of a Teenage Girl) will direct the film and had this to say about the project:
“I’m thrilled to be making You Are My Friend… The script knocked me out with its message of kindness and its exploration of the human spirit. 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. 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.”
The script, which was written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster (Transparent, Maleficent 2), previously appeared on the 2013 Black List. While I can certainly see why Tom Hanks seems like an ideal choice for a project like this, I do wonder if he is a little too obvious. That being said, Mr. Rogers is clearly the perfect cure for our cynical age and I’m sure some people will be drawn to this movie based on nostalgia alone. Do you think Tom Hanks is a good choice to play Mr. Rogers?