Ask any child of the 70s onwards who some of the biggest influences on them were as a kid, and I guarantee you that nine out of ten people will mention a certain "Mr." Fred Rogers.
A minister by trade who began his own children's show on local television back in 1968, Rogers had the kind of background that would normally seem too good to be true. He was a vegetarian by principle, saying that he didn't "want to eat anything that has a mother," never smoked or drank, wore sweaters knit for him by his mother, and above all else, seemed wholly dedicated to improving the lives of children everywhere.
See, he started his show because he genuinely wanted to make a difference in the world, particularly when it came to the nation's children. In an interview with CNN, he'd later explain that "I went into television because I hated it so, and I thought there's some way of using this fabulous instrument to nurture those who would watch and listen."
Suffice it to say, Mr. Rogers was essentially the nicest man in television (and possibly ever), and even 15 years after his death, we still miss him. So it seems only right that the nicest man in Hollywood would be chosen to play him in an upcoming biopic...
Tom Hanks has been confirmed to be the star of the upcoming movie You Are My Friend, which will focus on the relationship between Mr. Rogers and a journalist named Tom Junod. As the story goes, Junod was a cynical reporter assigned to write a profile on Rogers, who ultimately found his life transformed and enriched by the experience. In short, it's already got "Hollywood" written all over it.
The movie is being directed by Diary of a Teenage Girl director Marielle Heller, featuring a script written by Transparent writers Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster. In a press release, Heller commented:
"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 society."