Drawing inspiration from the theme song to the beloved children’s program “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” Sony Pictures confirmed that its upcoming Fred Rogers film will be called “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”
The announcement came by way of Twitter on Thursday, with the studio again sharing a picture of its star Tom Hanks seated on a trailer stoop in character as the genial children’s programming pioneer — cardigan and all.
The studio also announced that the film will hit theaters in October 2019.
The TriStar Pictures film previously went by the working title “You Are My Friend” and was written by Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue, who drew inspiration from Tom Junod’s life-altering profile of Rogers, “Can You Say … Hero?” written for Esquire in 1998.
The film is not meant to be a biopic of the gentle giant of public television, according to director Marielle Heller, who told Entertainment Weekly in March that she disliked that the project was initially characterized as such.
“It’s really not [a biopic]. It’s a movie that’s largely focused on a reporter [Junod] and [Rogers’] relationship to his life, and how [the reporter’s] whole world changes when coming in contact with Fred Rogers,” Heller said.
The film stars Emmy-winner Matthew Rhys as jaded magazine writer Junod, who is assigned to profile Rogers but “overcomes his skepticism, learning about empathy, kindness and decency from America’s most beloved neighbor,” the studio said. “This Is Us” star Susan Kelechi Watson and Oscar winner Chris Cooper also star in the film.
In October, tragedy befell the production when a crew member died after he suffered an apparent medical emergency and fell two stories off a balcony in western Pennsylvania, according to the Associated Press.
Before Rogers died in 2003, he earned two Peabody Awards, four Emmys, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
But the former minister’s name has been back in the news frequently this year because of Morgan Neville’s feel-good documentary about him titled “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and Sony’s Hanks film.