Why have one Fred Rogers movie when you can have two? Just a week after the documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” premiered at Sundance, Variety reports that “Diary of a Teenage Girl” director Marielle Heller will helm the biopic “You Are My Friend.” Tom Hanks will play the beloved TV host, because who else would do it?
“I’m thrilled to be making ‘You Are My Friend,’” Heller said in a statement. “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.”
Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster wrote the script, which Variety says is “inspired by a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and award-winning journalist Tom Junod. In the story, a cynical journalist begrudgingly accepts an assignment to write a profile piece on the beloved icon and finds his perspective on life transformed.”
Born in 1928, Rogers created and hosted the children’s show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” from 1968 until 2001, two years before his death at age 74.