You may actually feel your cynical heart melting as you watch the official trailer for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Tom Hanks plays Mister Rogers -- which couldn't be more perfect casting -- for this very sweet and earnest-seeming film. It's based on the true story of the real-life friendship between Mister Rogers TV icon Fred Rogers and a jaded magazine writer (Matthew Rhys). The jaded writer overcomes his skepticism and learns about empathy and kindness. Basically, his Grinch heart grows three sizes. Watch the trailer:
Do you feel that warm glow? I wonder if Oscar voters will feel it too. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood now has a release date of November 22, 2019, which is just in time for families to watch the movie around Thanksgiving. It's also perfect timing for Oscar season, so don't be surprised if Tom Hanks' name comes up yet again for awards consideration.
A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood was previously scheduled to be released on October 18, but somewhere along the way the Sony/TriStar Powers That Be wisely decided to move it to Thanksgiving.
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood hero Fred Rogers died in 2003 at age 74, which was far too soon to lose him. Interesting that he's now back in headlines having another major moment. This Tom Hanks drama follows 2018's Fred Rogers documentary film Won't You Be My Neighbor?, which became the highest-grossing biographical documentary of all-time.
Sadly, a tragedy was associated with the making of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. A crew member fell from a balcony on set, after suffering a medical emergency, and he later died. That was really the only piece of news that came out while the film was being made, and it's such a shocking contrast to the rest of the positive spirit.
Director Marielle Heller talked to EW about making A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which she said isn't a straightforward Fred Rogers biopic, and actually she doesn't consider it a biopic at all. As much as it seems like Tom Hanks is a real Mister Rogers himself, Heller said she had to work with Hanks to rein in his natural big energy:
He’s got a loud voice; he walks into a room and you know that he’s there! He shakes everyone’s hand, he’s really funny, there’s never an awkward moment when you’re around Tom Hanks; Fred allowed for awkward moments. Fred sat in silence and stillness in a way I don’t think Tom naturally does. Tom Hanks naturally makes everyone comfortable, puts everyone at ease, and makes everyone feel great. Fred disarmed people by asking a question and then sitting and staring at you until you answered. My challenge as a director was to get Tom Hanks to become less Tom Hanks…. to let discomfort and painful things sit; to not make everything feel okay. This will feel very different from how you’ve seen him before.
Yep, that's why it's called acting! Tom Hanks is pretty good at it. He won back-to-back Best Actor Oscars for Philadelphia and then Forrest Gump. He has also been nominated in the Best Actor category for Big, Saving Private Ryan, and Cast Away. It's been a while since he was last nominated -- 2001 for Cast Away -- so maybe this is his year again?
Tom Hanks is now in theaters as the voice of Woody in Toy Story 4, and he's mentioned how terrible it was to say goodbye to that role. He has the war film Greyhound coming up in May 2020 and also the sci-fi drama Bios ahead in 2020.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood stars Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers and Matthew Rhys as Lloyd Vogel (based on journalist Tom Junod). The supporting cast includes Chris Cooper, Susan Kelechi Watson, Enrico Colantoni, and Maryann Plunkett. The movie opens in theaters on November 22, 2019.