Tom Hanks was already the absolute perfect choice to play Fred Rogers in the upcoming biopic about the children's television host. Now, the official title for the film has been revealed and it's already giving me that warm feeling that Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood always did. The film, which previously was going under the title You Are My Friend, will be called A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
The reveal came via an official announcement from Sony Pictures. The title, of course, comes from the first line of the opening theme song of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, the television show that Fred Rogers hosted for more than 30 years. The title of the song "Won't you be my Neighbor?" wasn't really available as a title for this movie as it was already used as the title of a documentary film about Fred Rogers that debuted earlier this year.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is still a perfect title because every person who had even a passing connection to Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood growing up, and for a show that spent so long on the air, that's a lot of people, will be familiar with that opening line. The title will instantly make people remember their childhoods. Nostalgia is a powerful motivator and it might very well motivate a lot of people to see this movie.
The new movie will star Tom Hanks in the lead role as the popular TV show host and will co-star Matthew Rhys as Tom Junod, a journalist doing a profile on Rogers. The pair end up becoming friends, with Rogers' optimistic perspective eventually rubbing off on the jaded reporter.
The only thing we've seen of the new movie so far is the promotional image above which shows Tom Hanks dressed as Fred Rogers. While I wouldn't call him the spitting image of Rogers by any means, he certainly resembles the man enough for the purposes of the film. And really, who else was going to play Fred Rogers in a movie? By all accounts, Tom Hanks is actually as nice a person as he appears to be in his films, making him the perfect person to play the man who, based on what we learned in the Won't You Be My Neighbor? documentary, actually was the person he appeared to be on television.
Add to that the fact that Tom Hanks is simply one of the best actors alive today, and you have a recipe for a potentially great film about a truly great man.
Unfortunately, the only real news we've had from the set of the new movie is that a crew member actually died while filming the new movie. He fell from a balcony, though it appears he may have had a heart attack before the fall.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is set for an October 2019 release.