Tom Hanks is set to play Fred “Mister” Rogers in a biopic that will film later this year in an attempt to provide some measure of comfort from the daily horrors of the news cycle, and if you’re of a certain age (i.e. mine), this news brings up one immediate thought: Wait, Tom Hanks hasn’t played Mr. Rogers yet? How has Tom Hanks not played Mr. Rogers yet? Didn’t he play Mr. Rogers in that movie about the codes, or with the big dog? Weird.
Anyway, it’s fantastic news, because sweet head of Walt Disney, Tom Hanks has played some impressive human beings throughout his career, including Walt Disney, actually, and all of Walt Disney, not just the icicle head. In fact, Hanks has played enough high-quality humans that we compiled a medium-quantity of heroes played by Hanks—WHOM, we will remind you, is also running for president with The Rock in 2020.
The Scale of Amazing Humans Tom Hanks Has Portrayed
Fred Rogers (You Are My Friend, future): An unassailable children’s hero of such aggressive joy and pervasive delight that he made a journalist and Esquire writer stop hating life. YEAH. It’s serious. And there is simply no better time to produce a Mr. Rogers movie, and if there ever is a better time to produce a Mr. Rogers movie, I do not want to live in it.
Walt Disney (Saving Mr. Banks, 2014): Frankly Walt would rank ahead of Fred Rogers if it wasn’t for the cryogenic thing. What’s Walt Disney’s favorite brand of shampoo? Shoulders! (See, Tom Hanks wouldn’t make that joke.)
Jim Lovell, (Apollo 13, 1994): Astronaut whose 50-year-old Honda Odyssey-sized ship exploded halfway into the cold void of space, and who managed to fling he and his crew back to earth using computers 1/5 billionth as powerful as your aunt’s laptop, less electricity than the amount currently powering your coffee maker, and Kevin Bacon.
The Guy in Saving Private Ryan (Saving Private Ryan, 1998): Endures D-Day, World War II and a half-hour of exploding guts around him to find Matt Damon and and discover that Matt Damon doesn’t even want to be saved, and saves him anyway.
Chesley Sullenberger (Sully, 2016): Hero who manages to land a plane on a thin coating of New York river garbage. Also somehow manages to detail with parasitic media afterwards, more impressively.
Sheriff Woody (All 49 Toy Story movies, Cretaceous Period - Time Eternal): A character of such grace that he doesn’t even mind when Andy moves to college and donates him and all his beloved childhood memories to his neighbor friend and shut up, I’m not crying you’re crying.
Captain Phillips (Jeez, Hanks is in a lot of movies where the title is the guy’s name, 2013): Battles pirates. And this is weird, because a general rule of pirate movies is that the pirates are the best guys in the movie, but Hanks is skilled enough to make the guy fighting the pirates better than the pirates. Please note: Have Tom Hanks play a pirate. I mean, it’d be a uniquely heroic story of an American pirate who saves a boat full of orphans or invents the cutlass or cures scurvy or something, but I’d pay to see it
Ben Bradlee (The Post, 2017): Hanks plays what history texts will one day call “the editor of a newspaper” in the real-life tale of Watergate/screaming blinking neon metaphor for The Current Administration. Hanks barely missed out on an Oscar nod for the role, because of the mercy rule.
The Guy in the “Da Vinci Code” Movies: Never saw these, but doesn’t he prevent the Illuminati or Satan or someone from conquering earth with fire? Jerks don’t do that.
Forrest Gump (Forrest Gump, 1994): Included despite this movie being like nine hours long.
The Conductor in The Polar Express (The Polar Express, 2004): This man is actually terrible, because he makes kids get on strange spectral trains, yells at them about tickets, makes ghosts serve them hot chocolate and then, once they’re at the North Pole, loses them in some sort of dank elf-warehouse hellscape. Still has a heart of gold, though.