It was a sad day in the neighborhood 10 years ago this past February when everyone’s childhood voice of reason, Mr. Fred Rogers, passed away. Indeed, it never occurred to us that he was even mortal – we just kind of took for granted that he wouldn’t always be around to offer us his wise words of advice and make us all feel like we had a purpose on this planet. Even 10 years later, it’s hard to believe he’s gone.
However, he has experienced a resurrection, of sorts, in the last year or so, thanks(?) to the seemingly endless stream of national tragedies and strife that’s occurred lately. Many of us who grew up with Mr. Rogers have turned once more to him to find comfort, digging up old video clips and quotes and seeking solace from the man who always seemed to know the right thing to say. It’s probably no surprise, then, that a film about his life is currently in the works.
My first thought at this news is: Why? Films – and especially biopics – thrive on conflict. And I can’t think of an occasion in Mr. Rogers life where there was any great conflict… But then again, perhaps his biggest conflict was being a genuinely kind and magnanimous person living in a not-so kind or magnanimous world. Then there was Rogers’s struggle to keep not only his children’s show but PBS as a whole on the air, taking his case all the way to Congress and using nothing more than reason and his signature tenderness to win his case. So, perhaps that is the crux of the proposed film right there – Fred Rogers’s struggle to keep the faith and spread his message of love against all odds. And that’s definitely a story we could all stand to hear right now, is it not?
Treehouse Pictures has reported picked up a spec script by “Ellen” staff writer Alexis Jolly, and if Treehouse exec Justin Nappi has anything to say about it, A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood will definitely hit big screens at some point.
Says Nappi: “Fred Rogers was such an inspirational man for so many people. His keen ability to find the good in anyone, or anything, will make for a truly inspiring cinematic experience. In literally shaping the world around him to fit into his own unique perspective, he created what is arguably the most influential American children’s television show of all time.”
And there you have it. I’m willing to bet if Nappi launched a Kickstarter for this, he’d have it funded within minutes.
What do you think of a Mr. Rogers biopic? Who should play him? Tom Hanks perhaps?