Tom Hanks to play Mister Rogers in biopic

January 31, 2018 GMT

Tom Hanks is to star as Fred Rogers in a biopic about the beloved star of American children’s television.

TriStar Pictures has announced it has bought the rights to ‘You Are My Friend’, a film inspired by the real life of the creator of ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood’, the popular educational children’s TV series of the 60s and 70s.

Variety has reported Hanks is onboard to play the lead role.

‘You Are My Friend’ is based on the real-life friendship between Rogers and Tom Junod, a cynical journalist who was sent to interview the TV star only to find the encounter transformed his outlook on life.

The title is taken from one of Mister Rogers’ signature songs.

The film will be directed by ’Diary of a Teenage Girl’s Marielle Heller, and shooting is set to begin in September with further casting announcements expected.

‘Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood’ began airing in 1968 and captured the hearts and imaginations of children across America. The show is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year with Morgan Neville’s documentary ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbour’ recently premiering at the Sundance film festival.

Fred Rogers died in 2003 aged 74.

Hanks has just appeared opposite Meryl Streep in Steven Spielberg’s journalistic drama ‘The Post’ - which chronicles the Washington Post newspaper’s decision to defy threats from then-President Richard Nixon to publish the Pentagon Papers stories in 1971.

The 61-year-old actor has spoken about how much he loves hanging out on movie sets.

Speaking to Empire magazine, Tom said: “I love the hang more than ever. The atmosphere of making a movie, the creativity of a big ensemble like this. I had a bunch of great people. We had the newsroom. There was no reason to linger in the trailer on this because in the newsroom we had a great place to lie down, we had food. I got to pretend to smoke cigarettes so I always had something to do. And the scenes in Bradlee’s house were the same thing. We all just sat around in the living room between shots.”