I've been puzzling for weeks how to boil down the premise of our film into just a few sentences. It's kind of a complicated conceit; it's not a biopic, but instead some sort of inspirational road trip movie. So here's the script:
Mister Rogers summered in modest gray clapboard house on the edge of Nantucked Island. My family rented a tiny cottage next door.
On the afternoon of my thirtieth birthday, Mister Rogers asked me about my job as an MTV News producer.
Moments later, the man who singlehandedly saved public television from the congressional chopping block delicately said to me, "I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex."
The conversation still haunts me. And though he's not around to tell me in his own words, I wonder, who was Mister Rogers? And what did he mean by "deep and simple?"
And so I left my Times Square office, and sought out the neighbors that knew him best.
Tim Russert: "Mister Rogers was a unique human being; forever giving, forever teaching, forever nurturing, forever taking advantage of every moment to tell people that it's important that we respect one another and that we love one another."
Susan Stamberg: "He would walk into a room where there were children -- but not only children because adults reacted this way as well -- and the elctricity and the molecules changed in the air. You felt that you were in the presense of this figure."
Marc Brown: "He used his life so well and so wisely. And he used his time on earth to do so much good! It's just what he was here to do, and he did it so effortlessly."
Linda Ellerbee: "He assumed that everyone watching him had inside themselves a wonderful person that was just dying to get out. And he was going to open the door for them. And the help you open the door for others. That's pretty simple. And that's pretty deep."
Mister Rogers touched millions of lives.
This is the story of Mister Rogers and me.