Tom Hanks transforms into Fred Rogers in a first-look image from the upcoming Untitled Mr. Rogers/Tom Hanks Project. Coincidentally, the traditional narrative biopic about Rogers' life will hit theaters a year after the acclaimed documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor? explored the cultural impact of the children's television show Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, which ran for 31 seasons. It is directed by Marielle Heller, who is coming off this year's festival darling Can You Ever Forgive Me?.
Hanks signed on to star as Rogers in January of this year and will lead an ensemble that also includes Matthew Rhys, Susan Kelechi Watson, and Chris Cooper. Sony set the film for an October 2019 release date, but they've wasted no time in generating anticipation for what's in store. Fans can now see how Hanks looks as Mr. Rogers.
The studio unveiled an image today, which you can see in the space below. Hanks is seen sporting Rogers' trademark red sweater and definitely appears to be warm and inviting as he welcomes viewers to his neighborhood:
Sony also released a short synopsis for the film. The main crux of the narrative will follow the dynamic between Rogers and journalist Tom Junod (Rhys), who is tasked with writing a profile on Rogers for a magazine. Being sold as a "timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism," there's hope that Mr. Rogers will be a sweet and touching reprieve in what is currently a trying and divided period for the country. Rogers had a way of bringing people of all walks of life together, so ideally viewers will walk out of this biopic feeling inspired to make a positive difference in the world. Hanks seems like the perfect choice for this role, as he's been one of the industry's most beloved actors for generations. If anyone can accurately portray Rogers' qualities and characteristics onscreen, it's him.
Though we've barely just started this year's awards season, it's hard not to picture Mr. Rogers becoming a contender at the 2020 Oscars. At this point, the on-paper pedigree speaks for itself, especially after Can You Ever Forgive Me? surprised many pundits at Telluride and Toronto. Many critics were impressed by Heller's deft direction and the performances she got out of Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant, so it'll be interesting to see what magic she works with Hanks at her side. Hopefully, Mr. Rogers is as fulfilling an experience as Won't You Be My Neighbor?.
- A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) release date: Oct 18, 2019