In these divisive times, there’s one thing everyone can agree on: Mr. Hanks is the perfect choice to play Mr. Rogers. The just-released trailer for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood features the two-time Oscar winner slipping comfortably into the signature cardigan-and-sneaker combination worn by the beloved children’s entertainer. Directed by Marielle Heller, and written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, the film offers a window into Mr. Rogers’s world through the eyes of a journalist (played by Matthew Rhys) whose own life is desperately in need of a little magic. (Watch the trailer above.)
Rhys’s character, Lloyd Vogel, is modeled after Esquire journalist Tom Junod, who penned a highly personal 1998 article about his experience spending time in the company of Fred Rogers. The minister-turned-TV host had that effect on everyone, particularly the young viewers who found comfort in his long-running PBS series, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. The trailer for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood shows Rogers both on and off the show’s Pittsburgh set, and also includes cameos from such Neighborhood of Make-Believe residents as Daniel Tiger.
“We’re trying to give the world positive ways of dealing with their feelings,” Hanks says, channeling Rogers’s twang. “You love broken people like me,” Vogel remarks at one point, speaking directly to the preternatural ability that the host had at identifying and healing personal pain in others. Through movies like Forrest Gump and Saving Private Ryan—not to mention his random acts of real-life kindness—Hanks has also formed a deep connection with fans. If the Twitter reaction is any indication, he may want to start clearing his awards shelf for a third Oscar.
normal to burst into tears at the very sight of Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers right https://t.co/AymOd91C5y— Tyler McCall (@eiffeltyler) July 22, 2019
Oops I watched that trailer with Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers. pic.twitter.com/6VXUCiwRIy— Ben Yahr (@benyahr) July 22, 2019
Tom Hanks playing Mr. Rodgers? The neutron star of basic human kindness. https://t.co/sDTGUA2302— Matthew FitzSimmons (@MatthewFitz_1) July 22, 2019
They need to release Tom Hanks’ #MrRogers movie straight to video so I can bawl in the privacy of my own home.— Missy (@MamaDay831) July 22, 2019
I think we can all agree that Tom Hanks needs to be put in some sort of giant tupperware box and sealed off from any unwholesome external forces in order to preserve his pureness. Without that we won't have anymore nice things like this trailer https://t.co/cW4T51vn0G— Rachel Griffiths (@sunflowersutra1) July 22, 2019
Speaking with Yahoo Entertainment last year, Morgan Neville — who directed the acclaimed documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor — spoke directly to the personal connection Rogers formed with viewers, many of whom never got the chance to meet him in person. “In a weird way I feel I knew him, because he always spoke to a single child on the other side of the lens. My memories of the show are really more emotions.” The main emotion we feel after watching this trailer is...neighborly.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood opens in theaters on Nov. 22.
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