Marielle Heller is following up her acclaimed biopic of Lee Israel, an underappreciated writer whom she described as a “cantankerous, probably-alcoholic lesbian who spends most of her time with her cat” with a portrait of one of the country’s most beloved icons. A trailer has dropped for “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” and sees Tom Hanks taking on the role of Fred Rogers, better known as Mister Rogers.
The drama centers on the unlikely friendship that blossoms between Fred and Tom Junod (Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”) a jaded journalist assigned to write a profile of the children’s entertainer. Asked if he considers himself a hero, Fred answers, “We are trying to give the world positive ways of dealing with their feelings.”
This simple yet profound message seems to strike a chord with Junod, who comes to realize that Fred loves “broken people” like him. “Sometimes we have to ask for help, and that’s OK,” Fred explains. “I think the best thing we can do is to let people know that each one of them is precious.”
Heller most recently helmed 2018’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” She emphasized that Israel, its protagonist, is “not the type of female character that Hollywood movies tend to focus on. But she’s whip-smart, funny as hell, and a joy to spend time with.” McCarthy received an Oscar nod for her portrayal of the literary forger. Heller made her feature debut with 2015 coming-of-age pic “The Diary of a Teenager Girl.”
“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” hits theaters November 22. Check out the trailer to see how passengers on the subway show their love and appreciation to Mister Rogers, who was the subject of the acclaimed 2018 doc “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”