One of America’s favorite actors is coming to town to play everyone’s favorite Pittsburgher.
Sony Pictures and the Pittsburgh Film Office announced that Tom Hanks will come to Pittsburgh this fall to shoot “You Are My Friend.” In the film, directed by Marielle Heller, Hanks will play children’s television host and Pittsburgh legend Fred Rogers.
The announcement comes on the heels of the 50th anniversary of the first episode of “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” in February and the Rogers-focused documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” directed by Morgan Neville, which premiered in theaters this spring to rave reviews.
The film is based on the 1998 Esquire article by Tom Junod “Can You Say … Hero?” While the Neville documentary depicts the entire sweep of Fred Rogers’ life, this film will focus on Rogers’ friendship with the journalist Junod.
“We’re happy to have our 263rd project film in Pittsburgh,” said Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office. “It’s a great piece of business that will kick off in the fall, putting a lot of local crew and talent to work.”
Speaking with NEXTpittsburgh, Keezer said her office had been talking to Sony Pictures about a potential shoot for six months prior to the announcement.
Though Fred Rogers is a towering figure in Pittsburgh history, the film actually takes place mostly in New York, where Junod conducted his interviews with Rogers. Keezer said this would not be a problem for local crews. “We do New York better than New York does,” she said. “We can shut down the streets … it’s a lot easier to film here.”
While decisions on local casting and filming locations are still a long way off, Keezer said interested crew persons can submit their resumes at pghfilm.org.
The city has seen several high profile movie and television shoots already this year, including the second season of David Fincher’s ‘“Mindhunter” for Netflix and the CBS All Access series “One Dollar” starring country singer Sturgill Simpson.