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Film and TV

Tom Hanks plays ‘bisexual icon’ Mr Rogers in biopic’s first-look trailer

Amy West July 23, 2019
Tom Hanks plays Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Tom Hanks plays Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Sony Pictures has unveiled the first trailer for upcoming biopic A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which sees Tom Hanks portray presenter, musician, puppeteer, writer and ‘bisexual icon’ Fred McFeely Rogers.

The film centres on pessimistic journalist Lloyd Vogel (played by The Americans‘ Matthew Rhys), as he begrudgingly agrees to writes a profile on Mr. Rogers for Esquire magazine.  Based on the experiences of real-life reporter Tom Junod, it details how Vogel’s outlook on life changes because of Rogers’ sweet demeanour and optimistic attitude.

Just a few months ago, Maxwell King’s biography The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers alerted fans to the fact the he may not have been straight, which has caused some fans to question whether the movie will address his sexuality onscreen.

The teaser doesn’t indicate that it will, but considering that the film is being directed by Marielle Heller – the filmmaker behind the beautifully queer Can You Ever Forgive Me? – it’s certainly not an impossibility.

Maxwell King’s biography The Good Neighbour suggests Rogers was “attracted to men”

Rogers met his wife Sara Joanne Byrd when they were both studying at Rollins College in Orlando, Florida. They wed in 1992, had two sons together and remained married until Rogers’s death in 2003. According to King, Rogers was “absolutely faithful to his marriage vows,” but that wasn’t all the book had to say about his love life; one excerpt explicitly states that Rogers wasn’t just interested in women romantically.

During a chat with friend and openly gay psychologist Dr. William Hirsch, Rogers was reportedly asked what he thought of the theory that sexuality could be measured on a scale of one to ten. Rogers seemed to agree with the idea, replying: “Well, you know, I must be right smack in the middle,” King notes. “Because I have found women attractive, and I have found men attractive.”

Elsewhere in the biography, his longtime associate Eliot Daley describes Rogers as “one of the strongest people” he had ever met in his life, counteracting the suggestion that Rogers could often be referred to as “sissy.”

 

“If they are saying he’s gay because… that’s a surrogate for saying he’s weak, that’s not right because he’s incredibly strong.”

He added: “He wasn’t a very masculine person; he wasn’t a very feminine person. He was androgynous.”

Also starring This Is Us actor Susan Kelechi Watson and Chris Cooper, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood will released in US cinemas on 22 November. It is set to reach UK cinemas on 6 December.

More: A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood, Fred Rogers, movies, Mr Rogers, Tom Hanks

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