Previously dubbed You Are My Friend, Sony Pictures' Mr. Rogers movie starring Tom Hanks has finally received its official, final title. In today's politically and culturally divided American landscape, it makes perfect sense that so many are looking back toward Fred Rogers for moral guidance. While not even Rogers himself would've claimed he was a flawless human being, the man lived his life in commendable fashion, accepting those different from him as people equally worthy of love and respect, and dedicating his professional career to educating and uplifting children.
In the current age of instant worldwide connection via the internet, streaming video, and social media, interest in and reverence for Mr. Rogers' work has surged, despite re-runs of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood long since being pulled from daily rotation on PBS airwaves. This led to 2018's widely praised documentary film Won't You Be My Neighbor?, which served as both a biography of Fred Rogers and an illustration of just how impactful Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was with multiple generations of kids. A 50th anniversary special called Mister Rogers: It's You I Like also aired in primetime last March on PBS.
Next fall, Mr. Rogers moves into the fictional realm, as one of the main subjects in a fact-based drama film from Sony Pictures. The film was initially known publicly as You Are My Friend, but the studio eventually clarified that the project didn't yet have an official title. Now, after months spent without a name, Sony has revealed a new moniker for the Tom Hanks-fronted movie: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is directed by Marielle Heller, who recently earned positive reviews for directing Can You Ever Forgive Me?, another fact-based movie that starred comic actor Melissa McCarthy in a rare dramatic role. The film's story is based on the real-life friendship between Rogers and journalist Tom Junod, and focuses on a magazine writer (named Lloyd Vogel onscreen) who finds his cynical perspective on life upended after agreeing to pen a profile piece on the legendary children's show host.
In addition to Hanks' arguably perfect casting as Fred Rogers, The Americans' Matthew Rhys plays journalist Vogel, and other recognizable faces like Veronica Mars patriarch Enrico Colantoni, Golden Globe-winner Chris Cooper, Emmy-winner Tammy Blanchard, and Timeless star Sakina Jaffrey help fill out the cast list. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood will be part of a big 2019 for Hanks, who also returns to voice Woody in Toy Story 4, and stars in the World War II-set drama Greyhound in March. For now, Hanks' turn as Mr. Rogers has no scheduled competition for its opening weekend, but one assumes that'll change as the release date draws nearer.
Source: Sony Pictures
- A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) release date: Nov 22, 2019