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Marielle Heller spills plot details on Tom Hanks' Mister Rogers movie

Tom Hanks Fred Rogers Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

Filling the red sweater of beloved children's icon Mister Rogers is certainly going to be tough, but if anyone is able to do it, it'll be Tom Hanks. The upcoming YOU ARE MY FRIEND is slated to being shooting this fall with Hanks playing Fred Rogers, and director Marielle Heller recently spoke with Entertainment Weekly to spill a few details about the upcoming biopic - first off, the movie is not a biopic.

[This] movie is…. not a biopic. I disliked that when it got announced it was characterized as such. It’s really not. It’s a movie that’s largely focused on a reporter and [Mr. Rogers’] relationship to his life, and how [the reporter’s] whole world changes when coming in contact with Fred Rogers.

YOU ARE MY FRIEND follows Tom Junod, a journalist who formed an emotional bond with Fred Rogers while profiling him for Esquire magazine in the late 90s'. "It’s a story for our times, a story about kindness and family connection and trying to tap into our better self. God knows we need that right now!" Heller said. "In the research for the movie, the writers found that more people than they could possibly count credited Mr. Rogers with changing their lives…. [It’s about] one man who’s in a critical point in his life — becoming a new father, having issues with his own father — and meeting Mr. Rogers to write a piece about him, thinking it’s going to be a bit of a puff piece, but it ends up changing his entire life."

Although Heller says that they haven't been doing any character work yet, she believes that Tom Hanks understands the essence of Mister Rogers. "We’ve had a lot of conversations about the character and he understands the essence of Mr. Rogers," Heller added. "The response to that casting has been overwhelmingly positive, because even though he doesn’t look exactly like [him], essence wise, he’s in the same vein."

In other Mister Rogers news, Twitch will be teaming up with PBS to celebrate Fred Rogers' 90th birthday with a marathon of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood which will begin tomorrow at 10AM PT with 90 of the most popular episodes on Twitch. If that's not enough for you, they will then air all 856 episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood back-to-back. Buckle up.

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