Tom Hanks will star as Fred Rogers in the upcoming film “You Are My Friend,” so it’s fitting that the filmmakers sought the Fred Rogers Center for research purposes.
Emily Uhrin, a 2017 Saint Vincent graduate, is an archivist at the Fred Rogers Center and helped the filmmakers with research for the film.
She explained her role with the film’s research.
“I was asked to identify props and set pieces that the art department could either recreate or borrow,” she said.
For example, Uhrin said that costume designers came to the second-floor exhibit to look at Fred Rogers’ sweaters.
“Another group examined the puppets, and another measured the trolley,” she said.
“Props people came to the Archive to see what we had that might have been in Fred Rogers' office.”
Uhrin was responsible for finding and identifying objects that could be used on the film’s set.
The Fred Rogers Center became involved with the film’s scriptwriters (Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster) “a few years ago,” according to Uhrin.
“They wanted to find a story in the archive. They decided they could write a script about the friendship between Fred Rogers and Tom Junod,” Uhrin said.
Junod was a journalist who formed an emotional bond with Fred Rogers while profiling him for an Esquire magazine article in 1998.
Marielle Heller, the film’s director, said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that the film is “not a biopic…It’s a movie that’s largely focused on a reporter and [Mr. Rogers’] relationship to his life, and how [Junod’s] whole world changes when coming in contact with Fred Rogers.”
Uhrin said that Fitzerman-Blue and Harpster “were able to study their friendship through the correspondence that is preserved in the [Fred Roger’s Center] archive.”
Hanks paid a visit to the Fred Rogers Center in late-August for research and preparation for the film, which is set to be released in October 2019.