Mr. Rogers biopic 'You Are My Friend' starring Tom Hanks set for October 2019 release
Based on the real-life friendship between award-winning journalist Tom Junod and Rogers, it will be produced by Sony Pictures and distributed by TriStar Pictures.
When it was announced in January that Tom Hanks would be portraying the beloved Fred Rogers in 'You Are My Friend,' a biopic based on the popular television star's wide-ranging impact on an entire generation of children, fans were understandably excited. It has now been confirmed that the film will be receiving an October 19, 2019, release.
The film will be directed by Marielle Heller of 'Diary of a Teenage Girl' fame and is based on a script by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster. Based on the real-life friendship between award-winning journalist Tom Junod and Rogers, it will be produced by Sony Pictures and distributed by TriStar Pictures.
To go a little further in detail, the movie will focus on the story of an Esquire article written by Junod, who was initially hesitant to research the feature on Rogers, but after relenting and pursuing the story, strikes a friendship with the television personality and has his perception on life changed forever.
Heller lavished praise on Rogers and said she was thrilled at the prospect of helming the film, telling Variety: "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," she continued.
Hannah Minghella, president of TriStar Pictures, was similarly excited: "This is the perfect alchemy of talent coming together at the perfect time to remind us all of the transformative power of kindness and respect to heal and to unite. We are proud to partner with Marielle, Tom and everyone at Big Beach to bring this inspirational true story to audiences all over the world."
Hanks is arguably the perfect pick for the role, having previously starred as other real-life personalities in a host of other films. He most recently portrayed Washington Post editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee in Stephen Spielberg's Oscar-nominated 'The Post,' and has also played airline pilot Chesley Sullenberger in Clint Eastwood’s 'Sully' in 2016 and Cold War-era attorney James B. Donovan in Spielberg’s 'Bridge of Spies.'
Mr. Rogers should be one of his most challenging roles to date. The supremely popular personality is revered as a children's icon for creating and hosting 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' between 1968 and 2011, with his jovial, kind-hearted persona still fondly remembered by a significant chunk of American audiences.
The film is currently in the pre-production phase and Hanks will be hoping that it will finally see him break his long-running Oscar drought; his last nomination came for his portrayal of Chuck Noland in the 2000 survival drama 'Cast Away.' The October release date next year does seem to indicate that the filmmakers expect an Oscar run, so Hanks fans, keep your fingers crossed.