Entertainment news show “Access Hollywood” broke the news to Hanks and his wife, fellow actor Rita Wilson, at a New York City screening for the coming film.
Wilson told the reporter that she was pulling the couple’s leg while Hanks questioned how far back his connection to Rogers is.
Hanks and Wilson looked at a chart that showed his relation to Rogers stretching back to a man named Johannes Meffert, who was born in 1732.
A surprised Wilson asked to keep the chart as she saw names she recognized.
Hanks joked that he would like to see whether Johnny Depp is related to the beloved children’s show host.
Hanks compared wearing Rogers-style sweaters and shoes to Batman putting on his cape and cowl.
“You are definitely no longer yourself,” Hanks said. “You are this other very identified, a very almost commoditized human being that was Mr. Rogers.”
Rogers once demonstrated what a minute felt like on air to his captive audience of very young children. The ability to move at a slower pace and exert the kindness that Rogers emphasized was a challenge on the first day of shooting for Hanks, he said.
Rogers died in 2003 of stomach cancer. “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” was on air from 1968 to 2001.
Hanks’s movie hits theaters on Friday.