TriStar Pictures has announced that it will be making a biopic, “You Are My Friend,” about Mister Rogers, the beloved host of the children’s show “Mister Roger’s Neighborhood,” which ran from 1968 to 2001. Tom Hanks will be playing Mister Rogers, and many people have already commented that they find the casting very appropriate.
Marielle Heller, who had directed 2015’s “Diary of a Teenage Girl,” will be helming the project. She will be using a script penned by Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue. The film will be inspired by the friendship between Rogers and Tom Junod, an award-winning journalist. In it, the Junod character is portrayed as a cynic who is initially reluctant to write an article profiling Rogers.
Fred Rogers (1928 – 2003) was a native of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Early on, he believed television could be used to educate children. At first, he worked on musical programs for NBC until he concluded that commercial television’s dependence on advertising reduced its ability to truly educate children. He thus went to work for public television as a puppeteer on a children’s show called “The Children’s Corner.” Some of his characters, like King Friday XIII, debuted on this program. Rogers also began wearing his famous tennis shoes simply because they made less noise on the set.
Rogers spent a few years living and working in Toronto during the mid-60s, but he soon returned to Pennsylvania. He began working for the Eastern Educational Television Network, which eventually became American Public Television. In 1968, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” premiered. It incorporated characters and sets from some of his earlier works, and it became known for its gentle and slow pace. Rogers disliked the fast pace and animation of other children’s programs and called them “bombardment. He also refused to adopt a persona radically different from his true personality, saying that children could easily spot a phony. “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” won four Emmys, and Rogers himself received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.
Rogers died from cancer in 2003, and he was survived by his wife and two children.
Production on the movie will start this fall.