Marielle Heller, the director of the forthcoming film You Are My Friend, has been insistent that the movie is not exactly a biopic about Fred Rogers. In March, she told EW that the movie will be “largely focused on a reporter and [Mr. Rogers’] relationship to his life.” Still, the first photo of Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers — just released by Sony Pictures — is uncanny. We might not be able to call this a biopic outright, but if you just glance at the picture, you’d think it was a picture of Fred Rogers, not Hanks.
Obviously, Hanks has a long career of taking on the roles of famous men in films about their lives. From Jim Lovell in Apollo 13 to the titular Chesley Sullenberger in the film Sully. Will his turn as Fred Rogers in You Are My Friend be as convincing? So far, so good.
The plot of You Are My Friend is largely centered on Rogers’ relationship with journalist Tom Junod, who profiled the famous children’s show host in 1998. Actor Matthew Rhys is playing the role of Junod.
Here’s the photo:
Tom Hanks is Mister Rogers, coming to a neighborhood near you October 2019. pic.twitter.com/2TP3eiPUCx
— Sony Pictures (@SonyPictures) September 27, 2018
Because the movie takes place in the late ’90s, it stands to reason Hanks will only be playing Rogers at that stage in his life. Since the film won’t cover the entirety of Rogers’ life, it’s unknown at this time if there will be flashbacks to a younger Mr. Rogers. (I.E. Hanks probably won’t do a dramatized version of Rogers’ famous 1969 address to Congress.) And yet, because the movie is still a year away, who knows?
You Are My Friend is out in theaters everywhere on October 18, 2019.