During the New York premiere of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Tom Hanks delivered a pinpoint take on what made Fred Rogers such a unique individual.
Directed by Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood centers on the friendship between journalist Tom Junod (The Americans’ Matthew Rhys) and Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks). The feature currently has a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and received the Critics’ Choice Seal of Distinction from the Critics Choice Association.
During the New York premiere, Hanks explained that Rogers, even with all his success and acclaim, wasn’t in it for the money or to simply pat himself on the back. To Hanks, the goal for Rogers was to make a positive impact on that one child who was watching in front of the TV screen:
“This was not a commercial enterprise. He was not out to make as much money as possible. He never licensed his figures. You could buy toys of him but he didn’t make any money off of this. His show did not sell commercials that sold breakfast cereal or toys the kids wanted to have. He viewed television as being this instrument that was turning young children into consumers as opposed to the best versions of people that they could be. What I love knowing about Mister Rogers was he was an ordained minister and his ministry was his television show and his parish was all of a single child that was on the other side of the television screen. And it wasn’t for altruistic or feel good reasons if you get as this was his mission in life in order to tender a better philosophy towards human beings that they were going to be getting from this very commercial thing called television.”
***For the audio version of Hanks’ comments, take a listen:
Will you be watching A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and were you a fan of the 2018 documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Feel free to comment below!
Co-starring Chris Cooper and Susan Kelechi Watson, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood opens nationwide November 22.