If you see Mr Rogers trending on social media, worry not – the acclaimed children’s entertainer hasn’t been posthumously accused of any great misdeeds.
Instead, his name is trending because an actor has been cast to play him in an upcoming biopic, and it’s absolutely perfect.
So which star in Hollywood has both the gravitas and the quiet, calm, even-handed demeanor to play one of the most enduring faces in children’s television?
Why, none other than good old Tom Hanks, of course!
Seriously, this guy’s name literally abbreviates to T.Hanks. He’s like a lesson right out of “Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood” before he even opens his mouth.
There are few actors of Hanks’ age that have managed quite such a spotless career. Somewhere over the past few decades, Hanks went from playing a literal manchild in “Big”, to portraying heroic elderly pilots like Chesley Sullenberger.
He’s managed a full spectrum of upstanding, kind, warmhearted characters over the years, and also occasionally given us David S Pumpkin, and characters that are trapped in endless variations of hell (a deserted island, an airport, World War II) without ever compromising their integrity.
No doubt, Hanks’ version of Mr Rogers will be very similar to his portrayal of Walt Disney in “Saving Mr Banks”; a stylized, rose-tinted performance that makes the founder of the Disney behemoth look like a kind, friendly family man.
This performance is not without its critics – after all, nobody ever expected The Walt Disney Company to give us a realistic, warts-and-all portrayal of its namesake. Some argue that Hanks is too kind to the man, and they’d probably be right.
This saccharine performance, though, is exactly what people want of a Mr Rogers biopic. Nobody’s looking for an edgy, cynical take on this childhood hero; we want to see Hanks be cute and sweet and affectionate while wearing a cardigan, and that’ll be enough to make us all happy.
This movie should be a hit. With Hanks in the lead role, it’s hard to see it falling short of the mark.
It’s nice to have a little good news to be excited about every once in a while.