The idea of Tom Hanks playing American television icon Fred Rogers sounds like a perfect match on paper, and it truly is a dream come true in the first trailer for Sony’s fall awards hopeful “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” The biographical drama is the latest from Marielle Heller, the indie wunderkind behind “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” and “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, centers on the unexpected (and true) friendship between Rogers and the award-winning journalist Lloyd Vogel (“The Americans” Emmy winner Matthew Rhys). The cynical writer is forced to take an assignment from Esquire to write a profile on Rogers, but the job turns out to be a surprising one as Rogers’ perspective on life begins to change Vogel. The supporting cast includes Chris Cooper, Susan Kelechi Watson, Enrico Colantoni, Maryann Plunkett, and Tammy Blanchard.
For Heller, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” marks a big leap into the world of studio filmmaking. The writer-director has become one of the most prominent indie filmmakers thanks to her breakout debut “Diary of a Teenage Girl” and her acclaimed follow-up, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” The latter title was nominated for three Academy Awards earlier this year, including acting nominations for leading lady Melissa McCarthy and supporting actor Richard E. Grant.
With the backing of a major studio for her third feature, Heller seems poised to break out even more with the release of “A Beautiful Day” this fall.
“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” will be the second time Hanks graces the big screen in 2019. The actor already appeared in theaters this summer in “Toy Story 4,” where he reprised his iconic role of Woody. The animated film has grossed over $375 million in the U.S. and $859 million worldwide since opening June 21. Hanks’ last live-action role was a leading turn opposite Meryl Streep in Steven Spielberg’s 2017 drama “The Post.” Hanks was at the center of Oscar buzz for that film, and he’s certainly going to factor into the conversation by taking on the role of Rogers during the peak of awards season.
Sony will release “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” in theaters nationwide November 22. Watch the official trailer below.