Last year, Won’t You Be My Neighbor — a documentary about Fred Rogers, a.k.a. Mister Rogers, the TV figure beloved to generations of children — was the surprise hit of the summer. Critics loved it. Audiences told stories of weeping through their smiles (and made it a box office smash, with more than $22 million in ticket sales).
And now Fred Rogers fever is poised to heat up all over again.
The first full trailer for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, a dramatization of Fred Rogers’s story, capitalizes on our renewed nostalgic love for the affable, unexpected TV star. With the show’s familiar theme song in the background, the trailer shows the outlines of the story: A journalist named Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) arrives on the set of PBS’s Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, where he plans to interview and write a profile of Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) for Esquire’s “heroes” issue. He’s cynical and jaded, but spending time with Rogers shifts his ideas about what’s important in life.
Vogel is a fictional character, but he’s based on Tom Junod, the Esquire journalist who profiled Rogers in 1998 and credited that encounter with changing his perspective on life. (Junod also appeared in Won’t You Be My Neighbor.) And Tom Hanks — who, in a 2016 Saturday Night Live sketch, acquiesced to his nickname of “America’s Dad” — seems like the most obvious choice on the planet to play Rogers. In the trailer, he’s a dead ringer for Rogers: He changes into the signature cardigan, sings the song, and performs his iconic shoe toss. (You know the one.)
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SOURCE: Vox, Alissa Wilkinson