03 February - 66th GRAMMY Awards Pre-GRAMMY Gala

03 February - 66th GRAMMY Awards Pre-GRAMMY Gala

03 February - 66th GRAMMY Awards Pre-GRAMMY Gala

03 February - 66th GRAMMY Awards Pre-GRAMMY Gala


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Feature: Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys for the Los Angeles Times

Written by Mouza on November 16

What was the typical response, early on, when you would tell people you were doing this movie?

Rhys: It was split for me because if I told people at home [in Wales] that I was doing a Mister Rogers film, they go, “Who’s Mister Rogers? Is it about that football player Aaron Rodgers?”

Hanks: Is that right?

Rhys: Yeah. Because that was the closest reference they have. The football player?

Hanks: The quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.

Rhys: They’d be like: “Do you play a linebacker of sorts?” I’d go, “No.” But, no, then you say, “With Tom Hanks.” They understand that reference. In this country, you say you’re doing a movie about Mister Rogers with Mr. Hanks and it elicits quite an emotive response for many reasons.

People just melt.

Rhys: Yes. But you can understand. I mean, the pairing of those two, Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers, is pretty remarkable.

Hanks: Most people thought it was a biopic. They thought, “Oh, a grand history of Mister Rogers.” When I read Tom Junod’s article, and I realized, “Oh, Tom was that journalist, oh, dear, oh, that’s really different” … At the end of the day, man, you just hope you can surprise this audience somehow because they’re getting this [points to Matthew] and they’re getting this [points to himself]. If there’s not a surprise in there, we’re just absolutely doomed. Hopefully, there’ll be something in there that [the audience] didn’t expect as opposed to just an ongoing [begins singing]: “Sometimes people are sad…”

What were your perceptions of Fred Rogers before you started and how did that change? There’s this idea that he is this saint-like figure, and then you have others that view him as this fraud.

Hanks: There’s an old story that he actually has a bunch of tattoos because he was a Navy SEAL during Vietnam.

Rhys: I love that one.

Hanks: Wouldn’t that be a great thing? I would have said, “Yes, of course, I was. I killed a VC with my bare hands.” But in terms of who he was, you have to go, I think, to the show itself. The show itself is very easy to treat as an acid trip by way of … What is he trying to do? Is there a mind game that’s going on? Is it just a big, huge, tremendous feint? [Matt], did you watch a lot of the shows just in order to get an idea?

Rhys: Yeah. Tons, tons, tons.

Hanks: I watched a ton. Hours and hours. Look, the show was on when I was maybe 11, 12, 13 years old. I just thought it was odd. The puppets, their mouths didn’t move. What are these odd songs he keeps trying to sing all the time? I was probably more in tune with all the imitations of him, the comedy bits about him. [More at Source]

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