LOS ANGELES – Tom Hanks has a question for moviegoers: “Won’t you be my neighbor?”
TriStar Pictures announced Monday that the actor will play Fred Rogers in “You Are My Friend.” It’s a film based on the friendship between the iconic children’s TV host and a journalist assigned to write about him.
Rogers’ PBS program, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” aired from 1968 to 2001. He died in 2003.
Journalist Tom Junod profiled Rogers in an article for Esquire in 1998. The movie is about the bond that developed between the two men.
“In the heart-warming story, a cynical journalist begrudgingly accepts an assignment to write a profile piece on the beloved icon and finds his perspective on life transformed,” TriStar said in a statement.
Junod said on Twitter that the movie is “well-timed, for this moment.”
TriStar, a unit of Sony, said Marielle Heller, who wrote and directed “The Diary of a Teenage Girl,” will direct the film about Rogers.
“I’m thrilled to be making ‘You Are My Friend,'” Heller said in the statement. “The script knocked me out with its message of kindness and its exploration of the human spirit.”
Hanks is no stranger to playing real-life personalities. He portrayed Walt Disney in 2013’s “Saving Mr. Banks,” and more recently played Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee in last year’s “The Post.”