Marielle Heller: There’s never an awkward moment with Tom Hanks

When it came to making a film about one of the most beloved figures in America, it made sense to call on one of the most beloved actors in Hollywood to play him.

Initially reticent about taking on the role of children’s television host and American institution Fred Rogers, it was director Marielle Heller who persuaded Hollywood’s Mr Nice Guy Tom Hanks to take it on.

While Mister Rogers may not be well known in the UK, in the US he was a national treasure; the epitome of goodness in a tie and cardigan. He sang to children and used puppets to teach them about the importance of kindness, and break down difficult subjects such as death and divorce, for more than 30 years.

Tom Hanks stars as Mister Rogers in TriStar Pictures' A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. TriStar Pictures/Lacey Terrell
Image:Tom Hanks stars as Mister Rogers in A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood. Pic: TriStar Pictures/Lacey Terrell
Director Marielle Heller on the set of TriStar Pictures' A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
Image:Director Marielle Heller on set. Pic: TriStar Pictures

It is difficult to overestimate how much of an inspirational figure he was to viewers in America.

Google Tom Hanks and after “movies” (Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Philadelphia… the list goes on) and “wife” (Rita Wilson) and “Oscars” (two, so far) it’s not too long before autofill comes up with the follow-up, “nice guy”.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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