The 61-year-old Oscar winner will play children’s television pioneer Fred Rogers, better known simply as Mr. Rogers, in the biopic You Are My Friend. The TriStar Pictures project will be directed by Diary of a Teenage Girl helmer Marielle Heller from a script by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster. Production is set to being in September.
Rogers was the iconic star of the long-running children’s TV series Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. The series originated in 1963 as Mister Rogers on CBC Television and ran for 31 seasons. It held the record as the longest-running children’s television series until July 2002 when Sesame Street surpassed it.
You Are My Friend is inspired by a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and award-winning journalist Tom Junod. The cynical journalist begrudgingly accepts an assignment to write a profile piece on the beloved icon and finds his perspective on life transformed.
“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 Hannah Minghella, President of TriStar Pictures.
Incidentally, You Are My Friend isn’t the only upcoming film about the beloved personality. A documentary-feature film about the series, titled Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, premiered at Sundance this year. Focus Features will release it later this year in June.
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Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Intro