Nearly eighteen years after the final episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” aired, the beloved TV icon is coming back to the screen in a new way.
The trailer for Tom Hanks’ new film, “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” was released early Monday morning and already has viewers in tears. Full of nostalgia, red cardigans and the homespun wisdom that earned Fred Rogers his place as a household name, the trailer pays homage to all the little things that made Mr. Rogers special to so many viewers.
The clip begins with Hanks singing the “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” theme song, going through the familiar motions of removing his jacket, replacing it with a sweater and changing his shoes. Right from the start, Hanks nails Mr. Rogers’ mannerisms to a tee.
Based on a 1998 profile written by journalist Tom Junod, the film also stars Emmy winner Matthew Rhys. Rhys portrays the cynical journalist as he meets Fred Rogers while profiling him for a magazine article about heroes.
“Do you consider yourself a hero?” Rhys’ character challenges Mr. Rogers.
The journalist finds himself slowly transformed by Rogers’ ideals and attitude of kindness as the two gradually form a friendship.
“We are trying to give the world positive ways of dealing with their feelings,” Hanks’ Rogers says.
“Yeah? Like what?” Rhys’ character asks.
“Sometimes we have to ask for help, and that’s okay. I think the best thing we can do is to let people know that each one of them is precious,” Hanks says later in the trailer.
The movie’s director, Marielle Heller, said that the film won’t be categorized as a biopic, but will focus primarily on the friendship between the reporter and the children’s show host.
“[This] movie is … not a biopic,” the filmmaker said to Entertainment Weekly. “It’s a movie that’s largely focused on a reporter and [Mr. Rogers’] relationship to his life, and how [the reporter’s] whole world changes when coming in contact with Fred Rogers.”
Regardless, the movie will be an opportunity for Mr. Rogers fans to relive some of their childhood memories and rediscover what it truly means to be a good neighbor.
The beloved host was well-known for his TV personality as a gentle soul, but there was a lot more to Mr. Rogers than that.
Morgan Neville, director of the 2018 documentary “Won’t You be My Neighbor?” said in an interview with TODAY, “The stereotype of Fred Rogers is he’s a two-dimensional milquetoast who spoke in warm bromides, but the reality is he was a man of iron will on a mission to fight for goodness.”
“He tried to pull together a common humanist point of view that speaks to what kind of neighbors we should be, and what kind of neighborhood we should have — the kind of society we should have,” Neville said.
“He was standing up for something I don’t see other people standing up for in this day and age.”
“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” will arrive in theaters on November 22, 2019.