It’s a beautiful day in the neighbourhood for husband-and-wife directing team Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. The directors, best known for Little Miss Sunshine and making the masterful music video for Tonight, Tonight by The Smashing Pumpkins, are signed on to make a film dedicated to Fred Rogers, the late, gentle giant of public television.
Titled I’m Proud of You, the film will be their third feature, and hopefully a comeback after their sophomore effort, Ruby Sparks, flopped. To make it clear, this will not be a biopic about Rogers’ life. Instead, it will be based on the moving story of journalist Tim Madigan, who befriended the television personality. After the two men met in 1995, Rogers helped Madigan get through throes of a life-threatening depression. He also made the journalist mend ties with his father, with whom Madigan had struggled to maintain a healthy relationship with. Make sure to bring tissues to this one, folks.
Tim Madigan wrote I’m Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers in memory of the soft-spoken, sweater-wearing broadcasting titan after he died in February 2003. The book received critical acclaim and comparison to another terrific story about a strong male friendship, Tuesdays with Morrie.
A genuinely heartwarming tale may be just what Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris need to prove that they are not just a one-trick filmmaking pony. The two writers attached to I’m Proud of You – Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue – have little film experience, but Madigan’s chronicles seem so full of goodness that pleasing crowds should not be a huge challenge.
Now that the husband-and-wife team are attached to bring some sunshine into the neighbourhood, the main question remains: Who will play Mister Rogers? Tom Hanks may be too young and Christopher Plummer too aged for the part. How about David Strathairn, who already played a beloved broadcaster, Edward R. Murrow, in Good Night, and Good Luck?
Tell us, who do you think should take on the role of Mister Rogers in I’m Proud Of You?
Source: The Film Stage