If someone tried describing the Mr. Rogers program to you, you'd think it was pretty lame.
I mean, some lanky dude with a hokey voice comes on camera, puts his sweater and his shoes down and waxes on about being a wholesome neighbor while sounds really lame.
However Fred Rogers, the genius behind Mr. Rogers Neighborhood ended up making that simple and pure concept one of the most amazing television programs to have ever made it on-air.
The long-running PBS program captured the hearts and minds of children all over America as Rogers, in all his wholesome glory, taught kids to accept who they are, go after their dreams, and, hopefully, grow up to become genuinely good people.
So when it came time for someone to portray Mr. Rogers on the big screen, Hollywood could only cast a fellow nice guy to depict him. And when it comes to big name actors who are bonafide solid dudes, it doesn't get more bonafide than Tom Hanks.
The back-to-back Best Actor winner will be portraying Rogers in You Are My Friend, a biopic on the influential American TV figure.
There are tons of people excited by the news.
It is finally happening, and in the best of ways: a movie, very loosely based on the article I wrote for @Esquire 20 years ago, with Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers, two innovative screenwriters from "Transparency" scripting, and Marielle Heller directing. Well-timed, for this moment. https://t.co/JWsOCmL6XB— Tom Junod (@TomJunod) January 29, 2018
People are pointing out the obvious: that Tom Hanks is the dad that America needs.
And then, the jokes started rolling in and they're pretty incredible.
I can totally see this.
People are even picking out their midnight showing cosplays from now.
Well, @tomhanks is gonna play Mr. Rogers. I can't overstate how much Fred Rogers shaped the better parts of my nature and made me believe kindness and understanding are worthy virtues, and I can't wait to see this project reach fruition. pic.twitter.com/74QAcUXNk1— Jared Petty (@pettycommajared) January 29, 2018
And if you've never read the original Tom Junod piece on why Mr. Rogers was the OG Nice guy, you should check it out below.
But in case you wanted other examples of just how great of a man Fred Rogers is, you can sift through countless personal blog posts of personal interactions individuals have had with the man.
And how he allowed those interactions to impact his program. Like when he began narrating aloud whenever he would feed his fish because a fan wrote that her daughter was blind and would listen to the show and wanted to know if they were being fed or not.
Then there was this unforgettable 1997 Daytime Emmy Award acceptance speech he gave.
He was involved in politics and even helped set a standard for VCR recording laws. He came out in the open and said that he, as an entertainer, had no qualms with children recording his performances so they could watch it on their own schedule.
Not to mention this guy's amazing interaction with the world's friendliest neighbor IRL, which had me crying when I first wrote about it.