Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers in biopic's first trailer

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Wow, a cinematic icon of wholesome goodness playing a television icon of earnest grandfatherly kindness. I feel my cynical critical shell cracking just a little…


Tom Hanks was an absolute shit decision.

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I thought it was a good decision, but seeing the trailer, I think…Forrest Gump sequel?


I am still afraid to see Won’t You Be My Neighbor? because I know that I’d be sobbing uncontrollably throughout the film. I don’t know if I can take that much emotion.

It even happened in this trailer. I started to cry right away. It’s not even Mr. Rogers, but an actor playing a part, and it’s enough to break me down completely.


This makes me sad. Putting a person as earnest as Fred Rogers through the Hollywood Biopic Grinder seems like a wretched thing to do.

I feel that straightforward documentaries and experiencing what they created are the only appropriate ways to share such a person’s life story.


You will cry. I did. Mr. Rogers said it was OK for me to cry, but if it’s too much for you then that’s OK, too.

If it’s a bit easier to read it rather than see it, here’s the article the Hanks movie is based on:

On the one hand, I agree – I like Tom Hanks and in some ways he’s a good casting decision, but as a famous and beloved and talented figure himself he’s distracting.

On the other hand, in these dark times I’m up for whatever it takes to spread Fred Rogers’ message to the widest possible audience.




It is wonderful, and intense. Watching it in a theater of people was cathartic.

I’m glad Tom Hanks decided not to do a straight-up impression of Mr Rogers’ unique cadence and voice, but still captured the way he acted quite well. This movie’s going to be difficult to watch but I’m also very much looking forward to it.


I feel like the lady in the trailer: “Please don’t ruin my childhood.”

Someone spoil this for me, right now, so I can brace myself. If I watch the documentary, or this movie, will I find out he was secretly horrible in some way?


I can’t speak for this movie, but the documentary shows that if anything, he was even more genuine than you’d expect. Even his kids said that the only thing that made him angry was when bad things happened to children or he felt the media was lying to them.


And not in the same sense as that term is used today.


You will. It will be totally worth it. Even if you skip the Hanks film, you owe it to yourself to see the genuine article in film there.


Only in the sense that he’s exactly what you think he is, if not more so. That a famous television performer could be that way is extraordinary in and of itself.

The single borderline case of negativity was that he asked François Clemmons, the gay man who played the Neighburhood’s police officer, to stay away from gay clubs in real life to avoid giving right-wingers an opportunity to decry the show based on bigotry*. Clemmons understood and didn’t think that Rogers was anti-LGBTQ, any more than he thought he was racist (Rogers and “Officer Clemmons” famously dipped their feet into the same kiddie pool in one episode, at a time when many public swimming pools were still segregated).

[* conservatives have found other reasons to hate the show and its message of compassion, of course]


He was not horrible in any way shape or form. In fact the reality is as @nungesser points out…Fred Rogers was even more of a spectacular human being than anyone would have thought.

There are tons of stories and articles about him, these are some simplified ones.


The trailer shows downtown Pittsburgh with the UPMC Tower. But it only became the UPMC Tower in 2007, four years after Rogers died. In his lifetime, it was the U.S. Steel Tower.

I’m being a picky pedant here but it is interesting that a high-budget historical biopic would make such a sloppy mistake in the first shot.


To be fair, the trailer makes that error. There are months for test screenings and tweaks before Thanksgiving. I guess we’ll find out…


I need a car chase, an exploding boat, and a drug-rehab montage to make me see this.


Right. I also recall that the producers of the Christian Bale Batman movies (filmed partly in Pittsburgh) really wanted to remove UPMC’s logo from the movie but ultimately left it in because they needed UPMC’s cooperation for shooting around the building.

Makes me worry there is some awful private copyright-enforcement “all pictures of the building belong to the building’s owner” shenanigans going on, maybe via production insurance.