Mister Rogers movie starring Tom Hanks will show TV pioneer's devotion to prayer, forgiveness

Tom Hanks dressed as Mr. Rogers on the set of 'A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”
Tom Hanks dressed as Mr. Rogers on the set of "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” | TriStar Pictures

“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” starring Tom Hanks, will highlight the Christian faith that beloved TV personality Fred Rogers grounded his beliefs and hit show on. 

“Do you know what that means, to forgive?” Hanks as Mr. Rogers asks in a newly released preview of the film titled, “The Heart of the Story.”

“It’s a decision we make to release a person from the feelings of anger we have toward them,” he continued. 

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The film is based on an article written by journalist Tom Junod, who formed a friendship with Rogers while writing a profile on his life and work. The movie details how their friendship evolved after their first encounter. 

In the clip, Rogers said he once told a sick man “to pray for me. I figure anyone who is going through what he is going through must be awfully close to God.” 

Rogers worked in television for more than 30 years after graduating college. The only breaks he took from working in television were times he devoted to his Christian faith.

The TV pioneer attended Pittsburgh Theological Seminary where he was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1963. 

“When I think of Fred, I often think of him in terms of what he did every morning, which was pray and think of the people he needed to pray for and write to those people,” the real-life Junod is heard saying of Rogers in the clip.

As seen in the preview, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” features a scene where Rogers leads a restaurant filled with people in a moment of quiet reflection.

“Just take a minute and think about all the people who loved us into being. Just one minute of silence,” Rogers said in the film, a moment the film’s director Marielle Heller calls “one of the more important scenes in the movie.” 

Rogers is also seen kneeling at his bedside reading the Bible.

Heller told the press at the Toronto International Film Festival that the TV icon talked the talk. 

“The truth is, he lived what he preached. He had a message of kindness and of being present and a mission of listening, and he did it every day,” Heller said. “Our movie shows you his mission in action.”

“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” will debut in theaters nationwide on Nov. 22. 

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