TriStar has bought the worldwide domestic rights to “You Are My Friend,” a biopic starring Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers, the legendary host of the children’s TV series “Mister Rogers Neighborhood,” the studio announced on Monday.
Directed by Marielle Heller (“Diary of a Teenage Girl”) from a script by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, the film follows a cynical journalist who begrudgingly agrees to do a profile piece on Rogers, but finds his life transformed by the experience. The story is based on a real-life friendship between Rogers and journalist Tom Junod.
Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf of Big Beach will produce alongside “The Beguiled” producer Youree Henley. Leah Holzer of Big Beach will executive produce, along with Fitzerman-Blue and Harpster. The project originated from a true story developed by Fitzerman-Blue and Harpster, first appearing on the BlackList in 2013.
“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,” TriStar President Hannah Minghella said in a statement.
“I’m thrilled to be making ‘You Are My Friend,'” added Heller. “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.”
Hanks’ upcoming roles include a return as Woody in Pixar’s “Toy Story 4,” as well as the lead role in the sci-fi film “BIOS,” which is being filmed by Emmy-winning “Game of Thrones” director Miguel Sapochnik.
Hanks is repped by CAA. Heller is represented by UTA and Ziffren Law Firm, Fitzerman-Blue and Harpster are represented by UTA and managed byKaplan/Perrone Entertainment and James Feldman at Lichter, Grossman Law Firm.