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Mr Rogers Movie – Tom Hanks Will Play Mr. Rogers In an Upcoming Biopic
In the late 1990s, journalist Tom Junod found himself in a crisis about his work. He’d just come over to Esquire from GQ and had written a then-controversial story about Kevin Spacey. “People hated the story and quite suddenly hated me,” Junod tells me. Then he was offered a chance to profile iconic children’s TV personality Fred Rogers. “I took the story definitely not knowing that Fred would recognize in me a person who kind of needed a little bit of help.”
The result was Junod’s now-essential profile of Mr. Rogers, which is the inspiration for an upcoming biopic called You Are My Friend from TriStar Pictures. Directed by Marielle Heller, the screenplay from Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster loosely follows Junod’s relationship with Rogers, who will be played by Tom Hanks, as The Hollywood Reporter revealed today.
“The really cool thing about Tom Hanks playing Fred is that Fred and Tom Hanks are similar in a really essential way in that they are gentle people, they are soft spoken people, but they are powerful people,” Junod said. “I think that Tom Hanks can really bring that aspect of Fred out.”
Now a senior writer at ESPN, Junod says the drafts of the script are innovative in the same way that the 1998 profile experimented with form.
Still in the early casting process, Junod—who says he’s neither as begrudging or cynical as the synopsis describes—will be a fictionalized character in the film. He hopes he’s played by Jon Hamm.