Tom Hanks says it wasn’t easy getting through the opening number for the movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. While the 63-year-old Oscar-winning actor nailed his portrayal of late children’s television icon Fred Rogers for the film, he had a lot of trouble with the iconic Mister Rogers theme song due to the multitasking that was required to get it right.
In an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Hanks revealed that the opening song — in which Mister Rogers comes through his front door, takes off his suit jacket and shoes, and changes into blue sneakers and his signature sweater — was difficult to film. Unbeknownst to fans of the long-running children’s TV show, the kiddie TV legend had some “tricks” for his perfectly choreographed opening song. It turns out, Rogers was able to skip looping up his sneakers, which saved him valuable time while shooting the famous opening sequence.
“It took 27 takes,” Hanks said of filming the scene for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. “27 takes to get through the song. It turned out, there’s tricks. [Rogers’] shoes were bigger than his feet so they came off very easily… and the sneakers were already half-tied, so he only had to put them on and do the rabbit ear and around. I was tying the whole damn shoe…and that added easily like 3.2 seconds to it, and more often than not I couldn’t quite finish it.”
While Hanks had trouble mastering Mister Rogers’ quick-change act, the actor also knew he had to capture the late TV star’s everyday mannerisms just right because fans in Pittsburgh, the city where Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was filmed, would be watching his every move.
In the Kimmel interview, Hanks revealed that during filming on location, he shared an elevator ride with a local fan who told him, “We take Mister Rogers very seriously here.”
“I think his eyes went snake-like for a second and I went, ‘I believe I have been threatened in the City of Three Rivers,'” Hanks told the late-night host.
Some of Hanks’ Mister Rogers moves should come naturally. As previously shared by The Inquisitr, the actor recently found out he is a real-life relative of the kiddie TV legend. At a recent screening of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, a stunned Hanks and his wife Rota Wilson found out that he and Fred Rogers have a common ancestor named Johannes Meffert. Hanks and Rogers are reportedly sixth cousins.