Arts & Culture

We Finally Have a Premiere Date for Tom Hanks's Mister Rogers Biopic

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood centers around the friendship between Rogers and journalist Tom Junod.

The casting couldn't be more perfect: quintessential Hollywood good guy Tom Hanks will play beloved children's television star Fred Rogers in a new biopic about the television pioneer.

Loosely based on journalist Tom Junod's 1998 Esquire profile of Rogers, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood will reportedly center around how "a cynical journalist begrudgingly accepts an assignment to write a profile piece on the beloved icon and finds his perspective on life transformed," according to Variety, which first broke the news back in January.

Junod, now a senior writer at ESPN, is a fan of Hanks playing Rogers.

"The really cool thing about Tom Hanks playing Fred is that Fred and Tom Hanks are similar in a really essential way in that they are gentle people, they are soft spoken people, but they are powerful people," he told Esquire. "I think that Tom Hanks can really bring that aspect of Fred out."

The script for the film was written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster. Marielle Heller, who is perhaps best known for Diary of a Teenage Girl, will direct.

"As a mother, I am so inspired by the teachings of Fred Rogers and as a human I am in awe of his life’s work," Heller said. "I can’t wait to bring his story to the public and be a part of such a thoughtful, smart group of people who are all coming together to make this film, which truly feels to me like an antidote to our very fractured culture."


Other members of the cast include Matthew Rhys, Susan Kelechi Watson, and Chris Cooper, and the film, which was previously titled You Are My Friend, will premiere on October 18, 2019.

The project will serve as a follow-up to the documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor, which premiered earlier in 2018, just in time for the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Watch a clip from that film below:

This story originally appeared on
* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Caroline Hallemann
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