A little over a year before the movie is due to hit theaters, Sony Pictures has released the first look at Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers in Marielle Heller’s untitled Mister Rogers movie. Per the official synopsis:
Two-time Oscar®-winner Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in Untitled Mr. Rogers / Tom Hanks Project, a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Emmy winner Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about empathy, kindness, and decency from America’s most beloved neighbor.
If you’ve seen 2018’s likely winner for Best Documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, you’ll have spotted Junod in that movie talking about Rogers.
One of the more fascinating elements of Fred Rogers is that he was that guy on television. It wasn’t a character he was playing, and so the movie isn’t trying to take away Fred Rogers’ mystique as much as it’s trying to make it dramatic. This untitled project isn’t going to be about the darkness of Fred Rogers as much as reaffirming him as a source of kindness. That’s still a challenge to make a drama out of that, but I’m eager to see how Heller pulls it off.
As for Hanks, he looks pretty much perfect as Rogers, and it’s tough to imagine better casting for the part when you think of the inherent decency Hanks brings to so many of his roles. Hanks hasn’t been nominated for an Oscar since 2001’s Cast Away, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up garnering a nomination for playing such a beloved figure.
Check out the image below. The untitled Mister Rogers movie is due to hit theaters on October 18, 2019.