When Tom Hanks was cast as Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood I think the general consensus was ‘duh.’ There are few castings more perfect, where an actor is both the obvious and only choice for a specific role, than having the affable everyman Oscar winner portray the beloved host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. But how does Fred Rogers’ widow feel about Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood?
Thankfully, Joanne Rogers is just as happy as the rest of us with the casting choice. The 91-year-old pianist gushed about Tom Hanks in the role, saying:
It’s an awfully sweet sentiment from Joanne Rogers who clearly feels quite happy to see Tom Hanks put on the Mister Rogers cardigan. Joanne, who was married to Fred Rogers for 51 years, also told People that her late husband was a big fan of the actor who will be portraying him in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. So not only does Joanne Rogers approve of Tom Hanks playing her husband, it sounds like he would have as well.
That Joanne Rogers approves of Tom Hanks portraying Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood just lends an extra bit of credibility to Marielle Heller’s film and Tom Hanks’ performance. The public and movie fans may have felt that Tom Hanks was the perfect choice, but different people are going to have different perspectives.
Those who grew up watching Fred Rogers on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood may have felt like they really knew him. That was part of his appeal, i.e. how he seemed like a good friend, but Joanne Rogers actually did know him. The proximity of having been married to him for over half a century could have resulted in her not liking the casting or preferring someone else in the role.
It’s always tricky when you’re making any kind of biopic or film about real people who are either still alive or still have relatives and people that knew them around. And when a relative of a deceased famous person doesn’t approve of a movie, it can cast something of a cloud over it. Thankfully, that won’t be the case with A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood because both Tom Hanks and the film itself have Joanne Rogers’ full endorsement.
If that’s not enough to sell you on the film, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is sporting a fantastic 97% on Rotten Tomatoes a week and a half out from its release. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood opens opposite Frozen II on November 22. Theaters should really market those two films as an Emotional Gauntlet Double Feature, where every ticket comes with a full box of tissues.
Check out the rest of the films still to come this year in our 2019 Release Schedule, and stay tuned to this beautiful neighborhood for all the latest movie news.
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Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.