EXCLUSIVE: Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue’s journey with their script for Sony’s awards-season pic A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood began 10 years ago, even before the pair were Emmy-nominated for their work on Amazon’s Transparent and co-wrote Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil with Linda Woolverton.
It was the interest in reruns of Mister Rogers Neighborhood by Harpster’s then-toddler that sparked the original thought. The writing duo read all they could on Rogers — including a 2017 Esquire profile on the iconic children’s TV host by Tom Junod. After gaining access to Rogers’ archive in Latrobe, PA, they discovered a file on Junod that revealed the two remained good friends.
That relationship was the pair’s way in to write something beyond a traditional biopic, and their script made it on the Black List in 2013. With the backing of the Rogers estate and Junod, they brought the script to director Marielle Heller, who brought it to Tom Hanks (his turn as Rogers has already scored Golden Globe and SAG Award noms).
Sony released the pic over the Thanksgiving holiday, and it’s grossed $51.2 million domestically to date. The screenplay has earned a finalist slot for the Humanitas Prize and a Critics’ Choice nomination.
Read the full script here.