Tom Hanks is well-known for being one of the nicest people in Hollywood, so it makes sense that he would be cast as a man who may have challenged him in those stakes – Mr. Rogers, the man who generations of Americans grew up with.

Hanks will star as Fred Rogers in a biopic, entitled You Are My Friend.

Though perhaps not quite as iconic here in the UK, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood is something of a staple in American culture, and Rogers’ story is a universal one, about a good man who was simply trying to make the world a better place.

The script, written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, will chronicle one particular part of Rogers’ life and the effect he had on a single person – a journalist named Tom Junod. A cynical writer, with a few awards under his belt, Junod begrudgingly agreed to write up a profile on Rogers for Esquire – but found that the encounter changed his perspective on life completely.

Marielle Heller, of The Diary of a Teenage Girl fame, is on board to direct the TriStar Pictures production. Heller spoke a little about what drew her to the project: “I’m thrilled to be making You Are My Friend […] 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.”

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