Sony just unleashed a singularity of wholesomeness by releasing a new behind-the-scenes vignette for the upcoming Fred Rogers biopic A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers.
The two-and-a-half minute video features a series of interviews with the cast and crew, describing the process of how they all came together to recreate Fred Rogers as best they could with Hanks. Considering Hanks is a two-time Oscar winner and five-time nominee and shares a similar cultural Dad-space as Fred Rogers, he’s obviously the right man for the job.
We see a recreation of the opening of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood with Hanks as Rogers, presented in the same format as it would’ve appeared on TV, and whoo boy it is feels-inducing. Hanks doesn’t really look like Mister Rogers, but he’s captured his facial expressions and his movements and mannerisms in such a way that it approaches a weirdly heartwarming version of the uncanny valley. Joanne Byrde, Rogers’ widow, says Hanks “looks adorable as Fred. He looks wonderful.”
Director Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me?) stresses that having Hanks be a 1:1 match for Fred Rogers was never the goal. They gave him some false eyebrows and “a very simple wig,” and the rest is just Hanks using his Hanksian abilities to channel Mister Rogers.
Hanks echoes this, mentioning that he watched countless hours of the 30 minute TV program to study and master Rogers’ cadence and slow, precise movements, rather than attempt to do a ‘microscopic mole-for-mole imitation of Fred Rogers.” Co-star Matthew Rhys (The Americans) says, “Tom playing Fred couldn’t have been written in a book, because it’s perfect.”
The movie looks like it’s surgically engineered to make you cry forever. You can check out the vignette below, and see A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood when it releases in theaters on November 22nd. Just make sure you bring some tissues.