Tom Hanks didn’t want to be Mr. Rogers. Then he met Marielle
Tom Hanks has never played a superhero. But when the actor recently donned a very simple cardigan sweater, and the slacks to go with it, he felt like one.
“I felt like Batman. It felt like I was wearing the cape and the cowl of the Dark Knight detective,” Hanks says. “There’s only one person you can be when you put those things on, and that’s Fred Rogers.”
Since it was first announced, Hanks’ casting as the beloved children’s television host in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” has had the feeling of kismet. Here was an actor nearly synonymous with affability, with “niceness,” playing one of the friendliest faces to ever flicker across a TV screen. Hanks might as well have been answering a Bat Signal in the sky.
But as inevitable as Hanks playing Mr. Rogers may have seemed, it never would have happened without Marielle Heller, the filmmaker of the literary forger drama “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” and the ’70s coming of age tale “The Diary of a Teenage Girl.” The film’s script, by Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue, had been floating around for years before Heller got attached. Hanks had already passed on it, more than once.
“I didn’t pass on you,” Hanks said in an interview alongside Heller. “I just passed on a thing.”
It would probably please Mr. Rogers that the first big-screen fiction film about him was based, from the start, on a newfound friendship. Hanks and Heller met at a backyard birthday party for Hanks’ son Colin. Hanks had just read a New York Times article about female filmmakers and mentioned it to Heller after learning she was a director.
“And she said, ‘I’m in it,’” recalls Hanks. “And I said, ’Well, of course you are and I have to remove my shoe from my mouth.”
Hanks, newly resolved to work more with female directors, promised to watch “Diary of a Teenage Girl.”
“I thought, ‘Sure, Tom Hanks. I’m sure you’ll run right out and watch my movie,’” says Heller. “And you did!”…….read more
Source: AP News