Mister Rogers and Other Roles Tom Hanks Was Born to Play
Tom Hanks will be playing Fred Rogers, the man who made television magical for so many children. The Academy Award-winning actor will star in You Are My Friend, which will follow the late children’s television host and his friendship with Tom Junod, a journalist assigned to write about him.
This isn’t the first time Hanks has played a real-life figure who has shaped history and our society. He’s starred in 2013’s Saving Mr. Banks as Walt Disney, 2017’s The Post as Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, and in 2016’s Sully as airline pilot and hero, Chesley Sullenberger.
With such a perfect role like Mr. Rogers, we started thinking about all of the other roles Tom Hanks is absolutely perfect for.
In 1995, Oliver Stone directed the biopic Nixon, about the disgraced 37th President of the United States. An acclaimed film on Richard Nixon’s youth, college years, and time in politics, Anthony Hopkins stepped into the titular role, and the film was nominated for four Oscars.
When Stone originally set out to do the film, he asked Hanks to come onboard, but the Forrest Gump actor passed on the project. Now, given our current political climate, it might be pertinent to return to Nixon’s story highlighting his time in the White House with Hanks in the starring role.
Next: The man who defined psychoanalysis
Who hasn’t studied Sigmund Freud’s theories or at least heard about them in one aspect or another? The infamous neurologist founded psychoanalysis and helped form how we approach modern-day therapy. A historical biopic encompassing Freud’s immense life, impact, scandals and his escape from the Nazi regime would be powerful to see on screen.
It would be some of Hanks’ best work, we can already see it. After all, Hanks has no qualms about playing massive roles like this. In 2004, he was up for the role of sexologist Alfred Kinsey in the film, Kinsey. However, Liam Neeson took on the part.
Next: A saxophone playing politician
As the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton has certainly made his mark in the history books. From his miraculous first run to his impeachment proceedings, we think it’s about time someone shines a spotlight on the saxophone playing former president. In fact, playing No. 42 could have been one of Tom Hanks’ memorable roles.
The Cast Away actor turned down the role in Mike Nicholas 1998 film Primary Colors. The film was an adaptation of the book that followed Clinton’s first presidential campaign. John Travolta stepping into the role instead. Nearly 20 years have passed since Clinton has been in office and we think it’s time for a brand new biopic with Hanks standing at the center.
Also, Clinton and Hanks are actually good friends, and the former president already gave Hanks his blessing to play him in a film.
Next: One of the members of the Rat Pack
A massive figure in the 20th century and member of the Rat Pack, Dean Martin was a tremendous entertainer. We’re sure you know at least a few of his songs which include acclaimed hits like “Memories Are Made of This,” “That’s Amore,” “Everybody Loves Somebody” and “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You.” We think it’s about time Hanks get Martin Scorsese to dust of the script for Dino.
In the early 2000s, Scorsese actually wrote and was set to direct Dino, the Dean Martin biopic, but it never happened. We think now is the perfect time to revive the project.
Next: An Avengers adversary
A Marvel supervillain
We all adore Tom Hanks because he plays thoughtful and compelling characters. In fact, he usually plays heroes who have contributed a great deal to society. It’s very rare that he has taken on a more menacing role. We think it’s about time he does something drastically different.
With so many Marvel films coming down the pipeline, we would love Hanks to step into the role of a supervillain. The Presidental Medal of Freedom awardee would be perfection in a super diabolical role. In fact, we think the Marvel Cinematic Universe should create a villain specifically for him.
Next: The Grandfather of Marvel
Speaking of Marvel, we need to talk about the legendary former editor of Marvel Comics. Why has someone not done a Stan Lee biopic yet? We would love to see Hanks chronicle Lee’s life from the 1950s when he was tasked with coming up with something to compete against DC Comics’ Justice League.
It would also be vital to look at Lee’s partnership and eventual fallout with his business partner, Jack Kirby, who was the other force behind so many of our favorite Marvel characters.
Next: A man who helped define our childhoods.
If Tom Hanks is going to put on Mr. Roger’s cardigans, he might as well slip on Dr. Seuss’ glasses while he’s at it. Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel was born in 1904 and passed away in 1991, having written 46 children’s books, including Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat over his lifetime.
Seuss also served in World War II in the U.S. Army as commander of the animation department of the First Motion Picture Unit. We’d love to see Dr. Seuss’ animation come to life in a film with Hanks leading the story.
Next: The brothers who gave us Puma and Adidas
The Dassler Brothers
We’re sure that you’ve heard of Adidas and Puma shoes. However, we bet you didn’t know that the shoes were founded by Adi and Rudi Dassler, German shoemakers who owned the Dassler Brothers Shoe Company. The brothers rose to international fame when Jesse Owens wore their shoes in the 1936 Olympics and won four gold medals.
Unfortunately, pride and sibling rivalry tore the brothers apart causing them to split the company in two; hence Adidas and Puma. The siblings took their rivalry to the grave and even forbade company workers to intermarry. It would be ingenious to see Hanks play either Adi and Rudi.
Next: A timeless filmmaker
It seems baffling that we haven’t truly dived into the life of Orson Welles. After all, this is the man who gave us Citizen Kane. Welles had a pretty rough childhood and lost both of his parents at a very young age, but he grew up to be a prominent actor, producer, and director.
Though we’ve seen some aspects of Welles’ life on the big screen in 2008’s Me and Orson Welles, Hanks could really do justice to the man who struggled against Hollywood, became a master at his craft, and died penniless and morbidly obese from struggling with addiction.
Next: A baseball legend
If you don’t know about baseball legend Ted Williams, then you probably should. We’re not sure if Hanks could be Williams for the entire film, but we’d be down to see him cast as a wiser Williams. Not only was Williams one of the greatest baseball stars of all time, but he was also a U.S. Marine Corps pilot during both World War II and the Korean War.
His stellar baseball stats and acclaim as a pilot and chef aren’t even the juiciest parts of Williams’ story. He also had a ton of drama with fans and press over the course of the career. Oh yeah, when he died, his body was frozen. Who wouldn’t want to see that onscreen?
Next: This Founding Father
So George Washington wasn’t exactly a great person. He owned slaves and fathered children with one of his slaves .but then denied them. However, he was a Founding Father of America, so his story is important. We think this would be a memorable role for Tom Hanks — mostly because we want to see him wearing a white wig. The film could span the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, and then Washington’s Presidency.
The important thing about the film is that it would need to tell the truth about Washington and who he truly was as a man and a person. Daniel Day-Lewis was great in Lincoln, but the film was still a bit sanitized.
Next: A slain style icon
You probably don’t know much about Maurizio Gucci, the man behind Gucci, but Hanks starring in a biopic about him would certainly introduce you to the fashion mogul. Gucci sold his stock in the company for $170 million in 1993, and then he was cruelly murdered by a hit man hired by his ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani in 1995.
Reggiani had become enraged when in 1991, Gucci left her for a younger woman after telling her she was going on a business trip. He simply never returned home. She is now known as The Black Widow.
Next: A troubled computer genius
You probably saw McAfee, Inc’s label on or around a computer somewhere, but we bet you didn’t know the story behind its founder John McAfee. The founder and computer programmer made his fortune and then lost everything when the global recession hit in 2009.
Looking at McAfee’s rise and fall would be an interesting angle, especially with Hanks at the center. Also, there are certainly more than a few bizarre incidents in McAfee’s life. He was once arrested on a drug manufacturing charge and questioned in connection with a murder in Belize.
He has also been described as being “extremely paranoid.”
Next: The man who gave us Blade Runner.
Philip K. Dick
We’re certain that you’ve heard about novelist Philip K. Dick. After all, his novels, including Blade Runner, Total Recall, and Minority Report, have been turned into masterpieces for the big screen. However, there may be a reason for Dick’s masterful writing; one we’d love to see Hanks tap into.
In 1974, the sci-fi writer began having hallucinations. He eventually believed that he was living two lives, his own and one as an ancient Roman named Thomas. Dick died in 1982 from a stroke, but we would love to see how his stories came together.
Next: Ol’ Blue Eyes himself
Who better is there to play the quintessential Hollywood icon than another legend? Hanks would be ideal in the role of Frank Sinatra. Ol’ Blue Eyes was at the top of his fame during the ’50s and ’60s during the height of true Hollywood glam. He was also one of the founding members of the Rat Pack.
The film has apparently been a passion project for Martin Scorsese for years, but Sinatra’s estate has not wanted to play ball. We need Hanks to get on board ASAP, so we can get the ball rolling. Apparently, Hunger Games writer Billy Ray has already been hired to write the script.
Follow Aramide Tinubu on Twitter @midnightrami.
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