Tom Hanks is a good guy — and he knows it.
In a new profile in The New York Times, the Oscar winner, who plays perennial feel-good favorite Mister Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, reveals he’s well aware that audiences love him.
“I recognized in myself a long time ago that I don’t instill fear in anybody,” Hanks, 63, said. “Now, that’s different than being nice, you know? I think I have a cache of mystery. But it’s not one of malevolence.”
That’s why he doesn’t think he can ever play the villain.
“It’s because I never get them, because bad guys, by and large, require some degree of malevolence that I don’t think I can fake,” he added.
The actor also gave insight into how he’s used his charm as a way to get ahead in his career over the years.
“Let’s not call this a dark side, but: I realize, and I used over and over again, the ability to seduce a room, seduce a group of people, and that it started off when I was very young as a self-defense mechanism but then turned into a manipulative kind of thing, because I didn’t realize that I was as good at it as I was,” Hanks said.
“And part of that is I am not malevolent. I’m not mysterious. You’re not going to get a huge amount of anger out of me or anything like that. I’m not coming in to dominate a room, but I am coming in to seduce it somehow,” he added.
Fred Rogers, the man behind Mister Rogers, is Hanks’ latest good-guy character, and his portrayal of the beloved TV icon is more than approved by Rogers’ widow.
In a PEOPLE exclusive behind the scenes look of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Joanne, 91, couldn’t help but gush about Hanks.
“One of the most wonderful things about this film is that Tom Hanks is playing Fred Rogers. Fred Rogers was a huge fan of Tom Hanks,” Joanne says. “He looks adorable as Fred.”
The pianist adds the film is a “fabulous tribute to Fred,” who she was married to for 51 years before his death in 2003.
“I think he would like this very much,” Joanne says. “There’s a wonderful energy there. It’s a very needful film right now.”
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood hits theaters Nov. 22.