Sony Pictures has announced the title of its upcoming film about beloved minister and TV icon Fred Rogers, popularly known as Mr. Rogers from the classic TV series "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood."
Oscar-winning Actor Tom Hanks will play the TV star in the now named “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”
The Marielle Heller directed film will hit theaters on Oct. 18, 2019. The cast also includes Matthew Rhys, Chris Cooper, Tammy Blanchard, and Sakina Jaffrey.
In a first-look photo of Hanks as Rogers, released by TriStar, the famous actor closely resembles Rogers as he sports his staple cardigan, sneakers and a welcoming smile.
"Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" was described as a gentle, thoughtful, preschool educational series in which Rogers treated children like intelligent people who deserve respect. The show ran on a number of networks in the U.S. and Canada from 1968 to 2001 and now people will get to know the man beyond the show.
TriStar Pictures described the film as a “heart-warming story.”
"A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" follows the friendship of Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. Junod was on assignment to write a profile on the TV icon, and although he was initially cynical and begrudgingly took the assignment, Junod's perspective on Rogers changed as his life was transformed as the two cultivated a friendship.
Junod's profile on Rogers, "Can You Say... Hero?" was published in Esquire in 1998. The journalist talks about how he learned to pray and describes some of his experiences with the Presbyterian minister. The piece gives readers a feel for Rogers' essence while exploring what he thinks children lose as they grow up.
Rogers worked in television for more than 30 years after graduating college. The only breaks he took from TV work were times he devoted to his Christian faith. Rogers attended Pittsburgh Theological Seminary where he was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1963.
While announcing the upcoming film on the "Today" show, host Kathie Lee Gifford revealed that Rogers was her neighbor in Nantucket, Massachusetts, during the later years of his life.
"I was blessed to get to know him. He was the sweetest most godly man. He was adorable. ... He was a life changer," Gifford said, agreeing with Junod's perception of Rogers.
Rogers died of stomach cancer at age 74 in 2003. He was survived by his wife of 51 years, Joanne Rogers, and sons James and John.