Tom Hanks' journey to bring every beloved American man's life to the big screen takes him to Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, and Fred Rogers' youngest son approves of the casting.
In an interview with TMZ, John Rogers said the family is very excited to have the two-time Oscar winner get the role.
"We just couldn't be more happy about it," John Rogers said.
John Rogers said his father "probably" watched Forrest Gump 100 times "and my father really, really respected and enjoyed his work."
The family would love to meet Hanks and see the film, if the actor can take time out of his busy schedule to meet them.
"My father was a person who is someone, who what you see is what you get kind of guy," John Rogers told TMZ. "He was very genuine, very kindhearted. He was very, very invested in the children of our world. He, of course, helped millions of people, in my opinion. So, that's what I'd like them to get across [in the film]."
John Rogers said he does not feel he needs to be particularly involved in the film, but he would be open to answering any questions.
Variety reported on Monday that Hanks was cast as Fred Rogers in You Are My Friend. The film, which will be made by Sony's TriStar Pictures, focuses on Rogers' relationship with the cynical journalist, Tom Junod. While writing a profile on Rogers, he began to understand the children's show host's positive outlook on life.
You Are My Friend will be directed by Marielle Heller, the director behind the acclaimed 2015 indie The Diary of a Teenage Girl. The script was written by Transparent writers Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, who are also working on Disney's Maleficent 2.
“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.”
Rogers hosted Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood from 1963 to 2001. He died in February 2003 from stomach cancer at age 74. Focus Features plans to release a new documentary about him, Won't You Be My Neighbor?, on June 8, 2018.
Hanks can be seen on the big screen in The Post with Meryl Streep.