Here's a First Look at Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers for Upcoming Film


My Kentucky childhood home boasted a wood-paneled television with rabbit ears that got three channels. Okay, maybe four if atmospheric conditions were right and the planets aligned just so.

That meant I had a very limited number of shows to watch while growing up. I spent a lot of time with “The Price Is Right,” “The Dukes of Hazard” and “Hee Haw.”

While my love for these programs waxed and waned, there was one show I could never get enough of: “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” The piping toot of the trolley and Fred Rogers’ warm, welcoming voice were enough to pin me to the screen each and every day.

Fred Rogers, the Presbyterian minister who chose to affect cultural change through television programs rather than preaching, has enjoyed unexpected popularity lately. According to The Hollywood Reporter, this is the second film about Rogers in recent years.

The documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, and now audiences will soon be able to enjoy another movie about everyone’s favorite red-sweatered friend.

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Courtesy of director Marielle Heller, the new movie will focus on Rogers’ life in the late ’90s. Fatherly reported that Heller has said that it won’t be a biopic, a history of Rogers’ life.

Instead, the movie will focus on his encounter with journalist Tom Junod, who produced a profile of him during the same period. Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”) will play Junod, and his character will reportedly learn important about the kindness and decency Rogers proclaimed all his life, according to BuzzFeed News.

Of course, no one is really talking about Matthew Rhys’ role in the movie. Instead, everyone is in awe at who is playing Rogers: Tom Hanks.

Sony released the first picture of the legendary actor in character, and you know what? Dressed in the television host’s trademark red sweater with his hair falling across his forehead in a neatly combed wing of gray, Hanks is almost a ringer for Rogers.

As soon as the image hit social media, people erupted with praise and criticism in equal measure. On Facebook, Mark Arnold said, “Still wanted Jim Parsons, but will see it anyway.”

“When I heard it was going to be Hanks, I was not sure,” Jasper Drinkenwaltzer added. “But seeing this pic … bam.”

Lori Elder tweeted that she “couldn’t have asked for a better actor to play Mr Rogers.”

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Jeff Brennan, however, still is not convinced. “Too bad he doesn’t look like him,” he wrote on Twitter.

Others noted how often Hanks has performed biographical portrayals of famous people. Kevin Kinsella said, “He’s also playing Neal Peart in a biopic. Who plays Tom Hanks in the biopic of Tom Hanks? Tom Hanks, of course.”

Of course, we have a while to wait before we learn more about the unnamed movie. BuzzFeed News says it won’t release until October 2019.

What do you think, Liftable readers? Will you go see Tom Hanks as everyone’s favorite neighbor?

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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