Tom Hanks to Play Mister Rogers in TriStar Movie as Iconic TV Show Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary

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Tom Hanks Mister RogersGetty Images

It was all leading up to this. has signed on to play Fred “Mister” Rogers in a new TriStar movie titled , which is inspired by the real-life friendship that Rogers shared with award-winning journalist Tom Junod.

I know what you’re thinking. Hanks as Mister Rogers? They’re practically the same person! Argue all day whether this casting is perfect or too on-the-nose, but I think this is as good a match as Hanks playing Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks. Obviously, this film is pure Oscar bait, and I can’t wait to see whether the Academy embraces or ignores this performance after snubbing Hanks repeatedly over the last several years.

Marielle Heller will direct You Are My Friend from a script by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, while Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf of Big Beach will produce alongside Youree Henley. Big Beach’s Leah Holzer will executive produce, along with Fitzerman-Blue and Harpster, whose script was voted to the 2013 Black List.

In the heartwarming story, a cynical journalist begrudgingly accepts an assignment to write a profile piece on the beloved icon, and finds his perspective on life transformed.

TriStar just acquired worldwide rights to the project, which will start in the fall. Hannah Minghella and Shary Shirazi will oversee the project for TriStar.

“This is the perfect alchemy of talent coming together at the perfect time to remind us all of the transformative power of kindness and respect to heal and to unite. We are proud to partner with Marielle, Tom and everyone at Big Beach to bring this inspirational true story to audiences all over the world,” said Minghella.

“Now more than ever, we all need a re-introduction to Fred Rogers’ message of uncompromising love and kindness between all living things. Mari Heller is the perfect visionary filmmaker to bring Noah and Micah’s script to life and because of her vision and this remarkable script, we have the quintessential actor to play Fred Rogers,” added Turtletaub and Saraf in a joint statement.

“I’m thrilled to be making You Are My Friend. The script knocked me out with its message of kindness and its exploration of the human spirit. 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. 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,” said Heller.

Hanks is represented by , while reps Heller and the writers, who are managed by . Junod is represented by and the David Black Agency.

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