Tom Hanks to play TV personality Mr Rogers in biopic You Are My Friend

Hanks has been described as the perfect casting choice for a man who influenced generations of American children

Tom Hanks (Getty, EH)

Tom Hanks has been cast to play American TV icon Fred Rogers in the forthcoming biopic You Are My Friend.

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The TV personality, more commonly known as Mr Rogers, was the star of the long-running US children’s show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

You Are My Friend is inspired by the friendship between Rogers and award-winning journalist Tom Junod who, after reluctantly accepting an assignment to write a profile piece on Rogers, found a whole new perspective on life. The end result was a classic 1998 Esquire profile.

Rogers’ educational show ran from 1968 to 2001, and had a huge influence on generations of children in America. He died of cancer in 2003.

Tom Hanks, viewed as a sort of father figure in the US, has been described as the perfect casting choice.

Following the announcement, Junod tweeted to share his delight at the film “finally” being made, and revealed that it would be “very loosely” based on his Esquire profile.

Marielle Heller (Diary of a Teenage Girl) will direct the screenplay by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster.

Heller said in a statement: “The script knocked me out with its message of kindness and its exploration of the human spirit.

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“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.”