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Tom Hanks Admits He Was 'Sweating' His Mr. Rogers Transformation

Sunday was date night for Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson at the NYC premiere of "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood."

"Extra's" Cheslie Kryst caught up with Tom, who portrays the iconic Mr. Rogers in the film. He admitted, "I started sweating it from the very first conversation we had."

"We were not doing imitation, we were not doing a surface treatment, he was not a punchline, he was not in the movie as a plot device," Tom said. "This story was about a heartbeat of a particular man who wanted to repair damage to people, whoever he met, and that was going to be a task. You get a wig, you get some eyebrows, you get a sweater, and you get some blue shoes — the rest is up to you."

Tom and Rita noted they will probably bring their granddaughters to see the movie. Tom revealed that he has used Mr. Rogers on his granddaughter, who was once upset that her mom wasn’t there. He shared, “I channeled Mr. Rogers by saying, 'Mommy's gone off to see some friends, and I am going to take care of you all day long. And we're gonna start because I need some help making pancakes…' It worked totally... She got Rogersed, that little girl."

Joanne Rogers, the widow of Fred Rogers, was also on hand at the premiere. She praised Tom for his performance, calling it "impeccable."

Tom said Mrs. Rogers told him something very interesting about her marriage. "I talked to her early today, and she said Fred [Rogers] made her mad a lot more than she made Fred mad." Why? "Well, because she would come home and say... 'I had a horrible day. They hadn't fixed the car. Nobody treated me with any respect,' and Fred would say, 'Maybe they were having a bad day too, honey.' And she would say, 'That's the last thing I want to hear from my husband.'"

Cheslie quipped, “I want somebody to get mad with," to which Tom replied, smiling, "Yeah, like, 'How could they do that to my baby!'"

"A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" hits theaters November 22.

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