Tom Hanks Thinks He Was Threatened Over Playing Mr. Rogers

The “Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” star reveals some behind-the-scenes tricks and reacts to a “Jeopardy” contestant not recognizing him at all.

Tom Hanks wasn’t looking very Mr. Rogers when he swung by "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Monday night, but he assured Kimmel and his audience that the white beard he was sporting wasn’t long for this world.

He also chastised Kimmel as a "jaded talk show host" when they started talking about that classic go-to move any guy who’s ever shaved a beard off knows all too well. You don’t just get rid of it all, you have to work your way through iconic looks.

Hanks said he was looking forward to the Elvis chops and wanted to give Burt Reynolds’ mustache a whirl. Then, Kimmel warned him that this inevitably leads to "the little Hitler mustache," which Hanks took great offense to.

"I will call that the Charlie Chaplin, you idiot," he said instead. "I’ll put a little top hat on." In his defense, Chaplin did sport the look before Hitler, as did several other prominent figures like Oliver Hardy of Laurel & Hardy.

Regardless, it won’t matter soon as he said wife Rita Wilson is not a fan of his more bearded roles. "Don’t even mention ‘Cast Away’ to her," he quipped.

Mr. Rogers Threat?

Of course, Tom Hanks was clean-shaven and clean-living to take on the iconic role of Fred Rogers for the upcoming film "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood." It was a natural fit, as Hanks is one of the most beloved celebrities of his life time, just as Fred was throughout his. And yet, an encounter showed him that just because Mr. Rogers always had a kind word and a kind thought for everyone, that doesn’t hold true for all of his fans.

In all honesty, it was a brilliantly hilarious story, as Hanks revealed a simple elevator ride while in Pittsburgh, the city where "Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood" was filmed.

At first, it sounded like exactly the kind of encounter you’d expect from a fan of the sweetest man in children’s television. A man joined him on the elevator and asked how the shoot was going, being incredibly respectful and thoughtful the entire time. He even wished Hanks well on the film and it would have been great if it had ended there.

Instead, Hanks said that as the elevator doors closed — the man got off before him — the guy turned and said, "We take Mr. Rogers very seriously here."

"I think his eyes went snake-like for a second and I went, I believe I have been threatened in the City of Three Rivers," Hanks marveled.

Mr. Rogers Secrets

We won’t spoil them all here, but Hanks said it took him 27 takes to get through that introductory song Mr. Rogers used to kick off each of his shows. It is the name of the movie, so it’s kind of important.

But there’s actually a lot going on in that sequence as Mr. Rogers has to enter his home, lose his jacket for that beloved sweater and even switch to his comfortable blue shoes. And just in the shoes alone there were a couple of tricks.

Apparently, Mr. Rogers wore shoes a size too big so they’d come off easier, and the sneakers were always half-tied to enable to him to simply do the more visual loop and wrap things up. Hanks, like a fool, was tying them all the way up and kept running out of time. It’s the little things you’d never think of.

And he embodied so many of Mr. Rogers’ traits and behaviors, including his morning swims and his slow and measured way of talking. With Mrs. Rogers on hand, the film looks to be a true capture of not just his basic mannerisms, but who Mr. Rogers was as a person.

Jeopardy Silence

Jimmy Kimmel couldn’t resist sharing with Tom Hanks, one of the world’s most recognizable and beloved actors, what happened when he was an answer on "Jeopardy" recently for his role in "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood."

In fact, the question was just that simple. With footage of Hanks as Mr. Rogers, the contestant was simply asked which actor was playing Mr. Rogers in the film. And we get that he was immersed in the role, but this is Tom Hanks, right?

And Hanks couldn’t believe it, either after seeing the clip of the woman’s epic fail. "You are kidding me?" he marveled. "You are kidding me?

More so, he couldn’t believe they didn’t at least try. "They should have gone, bing, uh, Woody Harrelson? No. Bing, Mahershala Ali? What was the name of the category, ‘Washed up Career Choices’ for $800? ‘Bad Casting’ for $1000, Alex?"

Kimmel tried to play it off as a compliment to how much Hanks disappeared into the role, which Hanks decided to accept … at least for a moment. "I think actually they were blinded by the red sweater," he concluded. That must be it!

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