Tom Hanks Didn't Initially Want to Play Mr. Rogers in Latest Film

johnny-lopez
December 03, 2019 - 8:02 am

Tom Hanks is getting critical acclaim for his role as Mr. Rogers in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” but it almost didn’t happen.

The film’s screenwriters and executive producers Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster revealed that getting the two-time Oscar winner to join the production was a process that took over 13 years.

"From our very first conversations, we were like, 'Do we even want to embark on this? Because who could play this role? Who could pull this off?,'" Harpster told Yahoo Entertainment . "And it was like, 'Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks could pull this off.' We can dream, can't we?”

But those dreams were soon dashed by the “Forrest Gump” star.

"And we had sent him the script years and years ago, and he had passed,” Harpster continued.

Following years of being in development, director Marielle Heller (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)  became attached to the project and reignited the screenwriters hopes of landing the Hollywood icon as she was friends with his son Colin Hanks.

Harpster continued: “She called Tom Hanks, as one does, and he said yes and then Micah and I lost our minds."

Meanwhile, Hanks has since revealed how stepping into the role of the beloved children’s show host was “terrifying.”

“There’s no such thing as an easy role to do,” Hanks told “CBS This Morning.” “The moment I said ‘yes,’ I began to have the night sweats.”

The renowned actor found the part so challenging because Rogers "was a very, very public persona. And everybody has an idea of what Fred is, what Fred was like, the mysteries behind Fred."

For over 30 years, Fred Rogers hosted the educational children’s series “Mister Rogers Neighborhood.” The TV show premiered in 1968 and aired its final episode on August 31, 2001.

“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” is in theaters now.

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