While promoting 'It's A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,' the actor spoke to Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen DeGeneres about playing the beloved children's entertainer.
Tom Hanks opened up about playing Fred Rogers in It's A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
While some of the Mister Rogers biopic was filmed in New Mexico, It's A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood was also shot in Pittsburgh at WQED, which is the television station where Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was filmed.
When dressed as his character, Hanks would often be approached by crew members that were "enamored" with his transformation.
"You put on that red sweater and those blue shoes, you might as well be putting on Batman's cape and cowl," Hanks said of Rogers' iconic ensemble while visiting Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Monday. "You feel powerful."
Hanks later revealed that Pittsburgh residents take Rogers very seriously. "I was coming down from the gym in the hotel. I was all sweaty and a guy got in the elevator with me and he said, 'Oh, Mr. Hanks." And I said, 'Yeah, yeah. How you doing?'" he recalled.
After the man stated that Hanks was in town to film the movie, he asked how shooting was going. The actor said that he was having a good time and hoped the film turned out well. The man then said, "Well, I wish you good luck on the rest of your shooting, Mr. Hanks."
"He got out before me and as the door was closing, he turned and he looked at me and he said, 'We take Mister Rogers very seriously here,'" recalled Hanks. "His eyes were snake-like for a second and I'm thinking, 'I believe I have been threatened in the city of three rivers."
Later in the appearance, Hanks said that Rogers' wife, Joanne Rogers, consulted him throughout filming. In addition to telling Hanks about her husband's swimming routine, Joanne informed the actor that Rogers drank hot pomegranate juice each morning.
Hanks added that filming the introduction to Rogers' show took 27 takes. "There's tricks. His shoes were bigger than his feet were, so they came off very easily," he said. "The sneakers were already half tied, so we only had to put them on and do the rabbit ear and around." Hanks said that he had to tie the shoe himself, which always made him late to throw the shoe in the air.
When visiting The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Tuesday, Hanks revealed the one lesson he learned while portraying Rogers.
"He taught me that listening is a million times more important than talking," said Hanks. "There is an acronym that I've now started using in my own life — W-A-I-T, wait — which stands for 'why am I talking?' You should just sit and start listening to everybody that comes across your way and you'll be amazed at what you learn."
Hanks also talked about going tandem skydiving for his son's birthday. "When he turned 21, I said, 'What would you like for your birthday?' He said, 'I want to go skydiving,'" recalled Hanks.
"You free fall and as you're free falling, your face goes like this," he said before grabbing onto his face and shaking his cheeks. After the professional skydiver popped the parachute, she did "this thing of swinging us around."
"I had had a huge breakfast burrito before the plane went off," he said. "I begged her. I was like a rag doll hanging from this harness thing. 'Please stop.'"
Once they landed, Hanks sat down for "about seven minutes waiting for my stomach to calm down while other people were coming down and landing."
Hanks and DeGeneres also touched on the fact that they will both be honored at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards. While Hanks will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award, DeGeneres will be get the Carol Burnett Award.
The actor's appearance concluded with him and DeGeneres playing "Act It Out" with the audience.
After they split the audience in half, Hanks named his team the Cougars. Meanwhile, DeGeneres told her side of the crowd, "We're just people."
Hanks' team went first. A screen behind the actor gave the audience categories to act out. The Cougars were tasked to act out putting on a sweater, taking a selfie, throwing a tantrum, doing trust falls, participating in a conga line, riding a horse, modeling and reading a newspaper. By the end of the round, Hanks correctly guessed six of the actions. To celebrate their successful round, Hanks led the crowd in spelling out the team's name.
For DeGeneres' turn, her team acted out scaring someone, doing yoga, twerking, sleepwalking, doing jumping jacks, golfing, being elephants, dancing, juggling and playing peek-a-boo. The host correctly guessed nine of the actions, which made her side the winning team.
An update arrived via Hanks' official Twitter account on Saturday, where he thanked the Australian medical staff for their care while in isolation.
Upon their return to the United States from Australia, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson posted an update on their situation since revealing their coronavirus diagnosis earlier this month. The message arrived via Hanks' official Twitter account on Saturday.
"Hey, Folks... We're home now and, like the rest of America, we carry on with sheltering in place and social distancing," wrote the actor. "Many, many thanks to everyone in Australia who looked after us. Their care and guidance made possible our return to the USA. And many thanks to all of you who reached out with well wishes. Rita and I so appreciate it. Hanx."
The pair, both 63, went public with their diagnosis on March 12 after exhibiting mild symptoms, such as chills, fatigue and a slight fever. They received treatment in an Australian hospital — Hanks was there for pre-production on Baz Luhrmann's untitled Elvis Presley movie — and continued to deliver updates throughout. In an Instagram post on March 17, Hanks assured the public, "We're all in this together. Flatten the curve."
Queensland Health, the Australian government department overseeing the outbreak in the state, believe that Hanks and Wilson may have contracted the virus in the U.S., or during transit.
As of this writing, the John Hopkins University Resource Center indicates that there are 115,547 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S., with over 1,891 reported deaths.