It's always a beautiful day in the neighborhood when something reminds me of a happy childhood memory, so imagine my delight when the first full footage of Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers debuted. The prolific actor's portrayal of the children's TV star was already revealed in a first look photo, but the A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood trailer envelopes you in a wave of nostalgia as it dives back into Mister Rogers' world.
Slated to hit theaters this Thanksgiving, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood stars Hanks as Mister Rogers in the late 1990s when journalist Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) interviews him for an Esquire profile. The concept is loosely based on real events that took place when Esquire writer Tom Junod interviewed Rogers for a 1998 piece. Directed by Can You Ever Forgive Me?'s Marielle Heller, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood also stars Susan Kelechi Watson, Chris Cooper, and Enrico Colantoni.
Whether you loved Rogers' songs about kindness or his adventures into the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, chances are that your memories of his long-running PBS show are positive. Fans of the series likely aren't too familiar with the behind-the-scenes aspects of Rogers' life, but the A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood trailer hints at digging beneath the surface of the beloved star.
Kicking off with a recreation of the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood theme song, the trailer primarily takes place from Lloyd's perspective. He initially takes an extremely professional approach to his assignment, seeming so invested that his wife Andrea (Watson) warns him not to ruin her childhood. He trucks on, asking Mister Rogers to explain whether he sees himself as a hero. "We are trying to give the world positive ways of dealing with their feelings," the older man says, utilizing his childlike approach to try and crack Lloyd's tough exterior.
Just as Junod was reportedly cynical about working with Rogers, Lloyd is reluctant to believe Rogers' philosophy. "You love broken people like me," he tells Rogers in the trailer.
Showing glimpses of the men working together and separately, the trailer concludes with a sweet reminder from Hanks' character. "I think the best thing we could do is to let people know that each one of them is precious," he says before the footage cuts to a scene of subway passengers singing "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" to Rogers.
When A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood was announced in January 2018, Junod voiced his support for the project on Twitter, writing, "It is finally happening, and in the best of ways: a movie, very loosely based on the article I wrote for Esquire 20 years ago, with Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers ... Well-timed, for this moment."
While Mister Rogers' Neighborhood ran from 1968 to 2001, Rogers died in 2003 after battling stomach cancer. Still, his influence on the upcoming movie is clear, as director Heller filmed on location in Rogers' home of Pittsburgh, spoke with his widow, and even hired several crew members who had worked on the original show. These tidbits plus that tearjerker trailer have me hoping that A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood's journey to theaters will feel like a true speedy delivery.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is in theaters on Friday, Nov. 22, 2019.