By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter
It turns out the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree: Tom Hanks, known as one of the “most popular stars in contemporary American cinema,” has family ties to one of the most beloved personalities in children’s television.
Longtime Palisadian and film actor Hanks is related to TV personality Fred Rogers. Less than a week before the movie “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” was released in theaters, Hanks found out through Ancestry.com he is sixth cousins to Mr. Rogers. Hanks had no idea of this when he initially took the part, according to a CNN report.
“It all just comes together,” Hanks told “Access Hollywood” in the report. They are both related to Johannes Meffert and subsequent ancestors shared the last name Mefford.
The movie’s plot follows cynical, award-winning journalist, Lloyd Vogel, played by Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”), finding himself a changed man after begrudgingly accepting a writing assignment to write an Esquire profile of Rogers, played by Hanks.
Critics are loving the movie as much as the beloved people in it: The biopic is trending at 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Rogers starred in all 895 episodes of the PBS show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” He was a puppeteer who created his own characters and composed over 200 songs.
The movie is directed by Marielle Heller, a California native from Marin County. Hanks told Variety she was instrumental in helping him find his character for the role. Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster are listed as writers.
The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September and was released in theaters on November 22. It’s rated PG with a runtime of 1 hour and 48 minutes.