Mister Rogers at the Movies: Writers/Producers Noah Harpster & Micah Fitzerman-Blue - Jen Hatmaker

Mister Rogers at the Movies: Writers/Producers Noah Harpster & Micah Fitzerman-Blue

Episode 01

Hello, neighbor! Today we start a short holiday series that reminds us there’s still so much good in the world, and so much to be thankful for. Speaking of, is there anyone more iconic, more revolutionary, more kind than Fred Rogers? Today we get a behind-the-scenes look at the new movie, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks (!) as Mister Rogers, who was lightyears ahead of his time—and Jen is joined by none other than the writers and executive producers of the movie, Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue. Noah and Micah tell Jen why they decided to spend a decade of their lives to writing about Mister Rogers, how it’s made them better parents, and why they think the movie will help us soften our cynicism and remember the importance of being kind. We’re inspired by the words of Fred’s wife Joanne, who said that her husband was just another person too, one always looking for a way to help children understand their feelings and to make the world a gentler place to live.

Episode Transcript

Narrator:  Hi everybody, my name is Remy. Welcome to the For the Love Podcast, with your host Jen Hatmaker, my mom. She writes books and speaks to crowds. But she mostly loves talking to amazing people every week on this podcast. Thanks for listening! We hope you enjoy the show.

Jen:  Hey guys. It’s Jen Hatmaker here. Welcome to the For the Love Podcast. Super glad you’re here. You are in for a really special treat today.

You are probably a little bit like me, I find myself in this crazy world, constantly craving stories that are life-giving. Right? People who are loving and accepting and warm and welcoming, my eyes are just searching everywhere for those people and for those places. I think we just need it. So many of our days are filled with fears and worries and uncertainties, and the world is weird right now. We need people who can throw their arms around us and give us a soft place to land.

There was a person in recent history, in our lifetime, who did exactly that in the most profound, special, and simple way. And of course, his name was Fred Rogers. Just saying his name makes me smile. Mister Rogers. I grew up on Mister Rogers. I raised my kids on Mister Rogers. I love him. He has a cherished place in my memory, my childhood, my kids’ childhoods. And I think the world needs him right now. It just needs him.

So guess what? We’re lucky. We have a great interview today, because we are getting Mister Rogers back in a way. We lost him in 2003, but we’re getting him back in a brand new movie. It’s called A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. And guess who it stars? None other than America’s dad, Mr. Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers. I mean, in the whole world, I can’t think of anybody better cast.

I’m so excited to tell you today, we are talking with the two minds that brought this story to the big screen. Today on the show, we have the co-writers and the executive producers of the movie, Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue. We are so lucky, you guys.

Micah and Noah actually started as writers and producers on the show Transparent. It was a Golden Globe, Emmy Award-winning show. It starred Jeffrey Tambor. You may have seen it on Amazon. They also wrote Disney’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, starring Angelina Jolie. They wrote that, which just came out. Heads up, they  are adapting Jess Walter’s novelBeautiful Ruins. Have you read it? I read it in a minute. They’re adapting that right now for the big screen.

And together, over the course of ten years, they wrote everything there was to write on this movie,  A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and have brought it to life. They’re so fun, you guys. This is a fun interview. They are great to talk to, and it was so interesting to talk about how they shaped up the movie, because it might not be what you think. [They walk us through] how they [chose what] lens [to tell it through], the casting, and just all of it. I asked them every single question about it, and they were so generous with their answers.

I’m super, super pleased to share my conversation with the writers and the executive producers behind the brand new movie with Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: Noah Harpster and Micah Fitzerman-Blue.

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Jen: Okay, this is an exciting day. I am just tickled pink to welcome Noah and Micah to the For the Love Podcast. Hello.

Micah: Hello.

Noah: Hello. How’s it going?

Jen: Okay. Can you say, “This is me and my name,” and, “This is me and my name,” so I get a feel for your voices?

Noah: Yeah, this is Noah Harpster.

Micah: And this is Micah Fitzerman-Blue.

Noah: And good luck, because we sound exactly the same.

Jen: You know, you do. You’ve heard this, right?

Noah: Yeah.

Micah: We’ve been working together for thirteen years, and it’s sort of like everything has merged together.

Jen: It’s like when you’ve been married for so long that you start to look like twins. It’s so strange. You just morph.

Micah: We’re both married to other people, but this [friendship] is a second marriage that we’re both in. I mean, it has all the same kind of things that you deal with, with your wife.

Noah: I can’t tell you how many times we’ve shown up to a meeting wearing the same clothes. One time, we were in a pitch, and we were literally wearing the exact same thing, and I had a big down vest in my car. So I’m like, “I’ll just wear the vest so that we don’t look like we’re exactly the same.”

Micah: It was August.

Noah: In the meeting, they were like, “Why are you sweating? Why are you wearing a vest?” So I had to come clean. I had to take the vest off and say, “Look, we’re dressed exactly the same.”

Jen: Right. Right. “We didn’t do it on purpose, please don’t shame us.”

Okay, first of all, you have to know that my community is bananas for everything Mister Rogers. So, as we roll into this discussion, everybody listening on my end is going to be leaning on the edges of our seats. We grew up with it.

I already told my listeners a little bit about who both of you are, but if you just wouldn’t mind for a second, I’d love to hear a little more about your journey, all the way to this project. Each of you tell us what made you sign up for a movie about Fred Rogers, because I’m not sure that’s the most riveting, action-packed space in the world. Were you fans of the show growing up? I’m curious.

Noah: I think we were. I was a fan. My mom was a kindergarten teacher for thirty-five years. I knew Mister Rogers, certainly. I wasn’t an avid watcher as a kid. I didn’t really have much TV [time] in my house until I was a little older, until DuckTales hit.

Jen: Yeah. Totally.

Noah: And then I started watching TV.

Micah: The golden age.

Noah: The golden age of television.

Jen: Oh my God, that is just so weird. The memory you just dropped right into my brain. Yes.

Noah: I know in your head, you just went, “Woo-hoo!”

Jen: I did.

Noah: Micah and I had been writing together for about three years or so, and we’re constantly looking for things that we find interesting or intriguing or confusing that might be good subjects to write about. But the truth is, I had a two-year-old toddler who was driving me insane, and wouldn’t listen to anything I was saying, and I was looking in a moment of desperation for some help, and I put on an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Fred started talking, and she turned to the screen and listened in a way that she has never listened to me before or after that moment.

Fred is just an amazing human being, and I said to Micah, “I think we’ve discovered a warlock that speaks toddler. We should write about him. We should talk about this.” And so, we dove in and started doing a bunch of research on Fred. You know, that was almost ten years ago.

Jen: Was it? Wow.

Noah: The toddler’s now twelve. And Micah has a toddler of his own.

Micah: Who is a full-on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood fanatic.

Jen: Of course. It’s bewitching. No generation can resist it.

Micah: Yeah, being able to work on this project for ten years—granted, it’s painful to have to wait for so long for something to come out that you’ve been working on—these projects kind of become the air you’re breathing. For us, as terrified dads trying to figure out how to become better parents, this has been a real gift to us, getting to learn.

Micah: Can I confess something?

Jen: Please.

Micah: Growing up, I was really more of a Sesame Street guy.

Jen: Bless it. These just feel like fighting words in the PBS world.

Micah: For whatever reason. I think I was just probably eating too much sugar.

Jen: Sure.

Micah: The cadence, how slow Fred Rogers’ [show was], I didn’t have the patience for it. And, man, I wish I did. But getting to learn about him, and getting to delve so deep into his life for this long, has been one of the more rewarding experiences we’ve had, personally and professionally.

Jen: Why did it take ten years? Is that just how long this stuff takes? Or was this unusually slow?

Micah: Sometimes.

Noah: Yeah, sometimes it does. I think, in this case, we wrote the script with no real rights at all. [It was] just something that we felt like we had to write. And so in a lot of ways, we did it backwards. We wrote the script, and then came producers, and then came directors, and then we sort of collectively went to the Fred Rogers Estate and his company. And we met with Bill Isler, who is represented in the movie. He’s like, “You guys seem real nice. It seems like you really understood who Fred was, but I just want you to know there’ll never, ever be a Fred Rogers movie. If you want to send me your script, great. But just know that.” And we were like, “Okay.”

It took a while. We didn’t really go away. We kept at it, and Bill eventually thawed and started listening to us, and realized what our intentions were, that this was not exploitative. This is something that we really believed in, we were writing a lot about our own struggles as new parents.

That eventually led to us meeting with Joanne Rogers, Fred’s widow. She is this amazing human being who, I think, took to us and how we wanted to tell the story pretty quickly. [Mister Roger’s wife, Joanne] really had only one request/demand of us, which is that we not treat her husband as a saint, but that we treat him as a real person who had real problems just like everyone else, and that he thought about his way of life as a practice, as something that could be attainable. And to call him a saint somehow negates that.

I think that was a really important moment for us, because it allowed us to think of Fred as three-dimensional, but also, really think about what it is that Fred did, how he affected people, and how he lived his life.

Years later, [Joanne Rogers] said the same thing to Marielle [Heller], the director, and she was incredibly moved by it. So much so, that she asked us to actually put it in the movie. Joanne Rogers, in the movie, actually says those words, or a version of those words, to Lloyd Vogel.

Ultimately, Marielle came on as a director. And she said, “Who have you thought about playing Fred Rogers?” And we were like, “Well, I mean Tom Hanks, but let’s come back down to planet Earth.” She’s like, “Well, no, hold on, let me see what I can do.”

Jen: Really?

Noah: And she called Tom Hanks. She got a hold of Tom Hanks and made a case. And he said, “Yes.” And Micah and I lost our minds.

Jen: I cannot even imagine. You guys probably had to be peeled off the ceiling. I mean, he’s a national treasure.

I want to dive into the movie a little bit, because it might not be what viewers think. If we could go one step backwards, because the two of you together, your partnership, you have some real magic. I’m curious, can you talk a little bit about how your partnership came to be and how you got all the way to making and writing a movie that Tom Hanks is the lead actor in? That’s not step one. That’s not phase one.

Micah: Noah and I were set up on, for lack of a better term, a creative blind date.

Jen: Yes!

Micah: We were broke, underemployed, maybe unemployed, and we were just hanging around in coffee shops, reading books. We both had read the same book, and we had a mutual friend who we would each hang out with, but not together, and we were just yapping at [our friend] about this book. Eventually, [our friend] was like, “Why don’t we get you guys into a room together so you can stop talking to me about this, and talk to each other?” We were like, “All right.”

Noah: Yeah.

Micah: We wound up getting coffee. It was everything we expected it would be.

Noah: It was awkward and confusing.

Micah: Awkward and confusing. From there, it wasn’t the kind of thing where we’re like, “Okay, well now let’s form a collaboration and write professionally for thirteen years.” We each had our own projects, we were working on different things, we were both trying to figure out who we were, what we wanted to do, what we wanted to be in the entertainment industry. So it happened in a very kind of organic, non-strategic way.

We had read another book that we love, and we said, “Man, this would be a good movie.” We knew somebody who was out in Hollywood pretending to be a producer at the time. And we said, “Hey, can we pretend to be writers? And can you pretend to be a producer?” That’s more or less how we got our first movie made. It was about collaborating with other people, writing a lot of other stuff, making a lot of mistakes and trying to learn. I think we’ve been doing it long enough, we’ve kind of figured out the scheme of success in Hollywood, getting paid to learn.

Jen: That’s nice.

Micah: It’s picking things we don’t know a lot about and using our curiosity as our guide. So for Fred Rogers, we didn’t really know anything about the man.

Jen: Yeah.

Micah: It was this long process of doing research, diving in, and steeping ourselves in what he stood for, and his history, and everything we could learn about him. That’s how this movie was able to emerge.

Jen: It’s interesting too, as a viewer, because the movie is not just about Fred Rogers.

Noah: No.

Jen: It’s broader than that, it’s wider than that. To me, I think that’s what makes it so special, that’s what makes it so memorable. I thought about it for days and days after I saw it.

I wonder if, as its creators, as its writers, as its executive producers, could you talk about that: the way that you framed it up, the way that you offered it to your viewers, the way that you told the story. Did that all seem immediately clear to you? How did you parse that out?

Noah: It’s funny. The first time we broke the story, we pitched it to our manager and he said, “You know, that’s really a good story. But it’s a little straight forward, and it feels a little bit like a Hallmark movie.” We got really mad at him, and then we said, “You’re right.”

The reality is, we didn’t get really mad at him, but we were frustrated, and we then drove across town. On the drive home, we were talking it out and saying, “He’s right. It really shouldn’t be a straight forward movie.” We don’t tend to write those movies, we don’t tend to like those movies, but for some reason, we’d broken the story that way.

That car ride is when we came up with this device, which is that the show is an episode of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, about our main character Lloyd Vogel, who is the journalist that gets assigned an interview with Fred. That car ride is where we broke that idea and that story. Then, from our first draft on, that has been the structural frame of the show.

It’s funny, we went back recently and look at all the drafts that we’d written over the years. And the very first draft we wrote, the opening scene is almost identical. There’s very few words that have been changed at all, over the course of almost ten years. It’s always been the idea from that first car ride. That’s how we wanted to frame it.

It was important that Fred’s message and Fred’s intent was pointed right at the audience. Lloyd Vogel and his cynicism was a way for us, as an audience, to come into the movie with the same cynicism, and have our same doubts about Fred. Hopefully, [Lloyd’s] walls drop down and his guard lowers and he starts listening to Fred and really answering Fred’s questions. Then the audience is starting to think about their own lives and think about their own guards, their own judgements, and their preconceived ideas of who people are.

Micah: His life did not lend itself to a conventional, three-act, narrative structure, with the low, the high, the deep low and then that climactic resolution.

He was someone who was working at this, as Joanne told us, every single day. But he was also someone who was compulsively intimate. He was an ordained Presbyterian minister.

He saw his life on camera, which was to talk to a broad audience, primarily children or the children who are still in the grown ups he was talking to about the ways to deal with their negative emotions. But on an interpersonal level, every single person we spoke to who knew Fred Rogers had their lives helped by him, changed by him, or shaped by him at some moment when they needed him the most.

Jen: That comes through.

Micah: Yeah, so that was the spirit of the movie.

Jen: That absolutely came through. You did a pretty masterful job of telling the story. I cannot imagine the moment that it came to you to tell the story through the eyes of Lloyd, the journalist. That had to have felt like lightning in a bottle, because I can’t count how many times we’ve thought over the years, Surely, Fred Rogers, this cannot be real. We even bring our own cynicism to the story, like you suggested, so being able to tell it through the eyes of Lloyd, who is such a cynic in this movie, I think that is a game changer for the way that we experience it.

Jen:  You kind of just mentioned this, but the whole movie deals with processing really complex emotions. The whole thing. Obviously, that was a hallmark of Fred’s, to help kids move through it, which is helpful, but [it also helps] adults.

I think showing that journey through nuanced, complicated feelings and emotions is a really hard thing to put on camera. To your earlier point, it would be easier to do a flat, one dimensional telling of Mister Rogers. But rather, you took on this really nuanced angle.

So I’m wondering, what were some of the levers that you pulled on screen to bring that all to life? Obviously, the casting was a huge part.

Micah: The performances in the movie belong to the incredibly talented actors who Mari cast and then directed. So all credit goes to her for those performances.

Noah: It’s kind of her superpower.

Jen: Is it?

Noah: Yeah. She has a lot of superpowers, but one of them is casting and working with actors, and making them feel safe, and getting amazing performances out of them.

She had big, big, big, famous A-List people coming for the Lloyd character, and she was like, “It’s Matthew. It’s Matthew.” And she fought and fought for him. She knew he was the right guy.

Jen: How did you feel when you watched some of these early cuts, when you’re seeing the way Matthew was so emotive? His performance really affected me a lot. Were you feeling like, We got it, when you started seeing the early pieces of it come together?

Micah: Yeah, I mean, there’s a moment of panic whenever you see the first cut of anything.

Jen: Sure.

Micah: Because you’re just like, “Oh no. Is this all wrong?” A movie is written three times. It’s written on the page as a screenplay, and then things shift and change when you’re actually shooting the movie, when you’re actually filming it. Lines sound different. Some things are cut, some things are added. It’s a living thing. The editor is the last writer, so to speak, so there are things that make sense on the page that don’t make sense when you actually are looking at the footage. So it’s going to be different. Thankfully, Noah and I have had enough experience looking at rough cuts, that when we saw the first assembly of this movie, which is before a rough cut, we both looked at each other and said, “Yeah, it’s there.”

Jen: That’s great.

Micah: “It’s going to take a while to get there, but it’s there.”

For us,  it was about those scenes between Fred and Lloyd, between Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys, which we had always hoped to structure a little bit like boxing matches. It’s a fight, it’s a heavyweight battle between cynicism and empathy, between darkness and kindness.

And if those scenes didn’t work, the movie doesn’t work. Those scenes worked from the outset. That for us was a terra firma. That was like, “Okay, we have this, and everything else can work out from that.”

Jen: Yep. Totally.

Micah: It was totally a trip though. I’ll say, having lived in our imaginations for so many years, to then see—obviously, when you’re on set, it’s a trip—it on the big screen and it’s all put together, that first time we watched it was totally surreal.

Jen: I cannot imagine. From your perspective—you spent ten years immersed in the world of Fred Rogers, so that’s a really long time to think about the same person and to study his life and talk to the people who knew him and loved him, and were impacted by him. So you’ve got to be experts on Fred by this point.

I’m curious, I’d like to hear from both of you, what you personally find most striking about Fred Rogers. What is the thing that you either learned, or discovered over time, or that [makes you say], “This is the thing that I find most remarkable about him?”

Micah: The answer is, “A lot.” But just for starters, he was so brave in what he decided to talk to small children about, far more brave than I think a lot of people are today. Certainly parents I know, certainly myself. Fred Rogers was talking about divorce, he was talking about death, he was talking about mass shootings, he was talking about things like assassination.

Jen: Racism.

Micah: He was talking about racism, he was talking about sexuality. He was talking about things that, if you were to frame it a different way, you could say that this man was a revolutionary.

Jen: That’s true.

Micah: He was decades ahead of his time, and maybe we haven’t yet caught up with him.

So what we marveled at was that there wasn’t an issue that [Mister Rogers] was afraid to speak about.  It’s sort of like a leader of a faith community, where you want the answers, you want someone whose perspective you trust on the issues that matter the most to you. And if you’re a child, you want this terrifying, confusing, and enormous world explained to you in a way that you can understand.

I think we all know a lot of smart people who can give you a very complicated answer to a very complicated problem, it’s only the geniuses who are able to distill down those issues into something that feels simple. That feels digestible. That cuts through everything and feels true.

Micah: Think about it. Think about trying to explain anything to your small kids.

Jen: Right.

Micah: Anything difficult. [Fred] had this saying, which was, “Anything that’s mentionable is manageable,” which was his way of empowering people to talk about their feelings. But man, when Fred Rogers is the person mentioning it, it becomes a lot more manageable.

Jen: You’re right. That’s a great answer. I love that. It’s funny, because these days, he may have been under great criticism for steering the ship into those tumultuous waters on a children’s program. But, back then, it’s almost like his gentle demeanor just tricked everybody into letting him get away with it. Here he is, hosting these really, really charged conversations on this little low-production, low-budget show. It almost seems a miracle that it was ever allowed to happen.

Noah: Yeah, and I think he knew that. Later in life, he said, “I would never, ever be able to make my show now. I’d never be able to do this these days.” We often wonder what Fred would do now. If Fred were alive now, how would he be able to witness in the way that he had for fifty years? Would there be a place for him? We certainly hoped that there would.

Jen: Yeah, that’s a great question. I find myself curious, too. It’s such a weird time to be alive right now. Everything is such a dumpster fire, and it feels like everything is so sensationalized and acute, almost every second of every day, I would have loved to have the wisdom of Fred in the Internet age. But I would have loved to have heard his take on how to manage this well, because it feels unmanageable for so many of us.

I don’t know, what do you guys think he would be saying these days? I’m curious, you could probably project forward, where do you think he would land?

Noah: Well, I think a lot of his theories, and his beliefs, and his sayings, as Micah said, “Anything mentionable is manageable,” are still incredibly true. I mean, anything mentionable is manageable—if you can say it, it can get better. Just being able to communicate and say the thing, I think, is a real problem now.

Later in life, when [Fred] was asked by an interviewer, “What is it that you will have hoped to have accomplished when you leave this planet?” And he said, “I hope to have given children positive ways to deal with their negative feelings.”

Jen: That’s nice.

Noah: That, in and of itself, is an amazing thing, to be able to say simply, “This is what I hope to have accomplished.” But I think for me, the big thing is that he was able to answer that question without even thinking.

Jen: Hmm, right.

Noah: Regardless of his answer, even though his answer is an amazing answer, it’s like, I wouldn’t be able to do that. And I think that for me, that was a big lesson in how I’m thinking about my own life, and how I’m thinking about the people I interact with, and the choices that I’m making, and how I’m raising my kids, and how I’m interacting with my wife and my business partner. What is the thing that I hope to leave them with? I think that if people just took a little time to think about that, we would be living in a different world.

Jen: You’re so right. Just that sort of clarity of thought, that very distilled vision for what he was here for without being really muddied, or deluded, or all over the place. He had one true north star and he lived, as far as I can tell, his entire life with a lot of consistency.

Micah: We’re so tribal right now.

Jen: Yeah.

Micah: We’re so divided right now. Everything is so polarized. And that works when we don’t actually spend time thinking about the humanity of the other people in the different tribe on the other side. And one thing that Fred stood for was having people recognize each other’s humanity, and specifically speaking to children who don’t have tribes, who are not inherently polarized—who have to learn these things—and they have to have them modeled.

One of my favorite things we ever came across, we heard from Hedda Sharapan, who worked for Fred for decades and decades. She was the first draft of a lot of things that Fred Rogers was asked to do. One day, Fred Rogers was asked to write the introduction to a textbook for people studying to become pediatricians.

Jen: Okay.

Micah: She wrote this seven or eight page intro to would-be doctors for children from Mister Rogers. Then she gave it to Fred, and Fred read it, he looked up, he smiled, he said, “Thank you so much for this, you did a great job,” and then he crossed it all out. He wrote, “Remember that you were a child once.”

Jen: Oh, wow.

Micah: Because that’s all that he needed to tell doctors who were going to be staring at the faces of a bunch of terrified little kids who didn’t want to get their shots, which is to connect to that part of them that was a child, that knew what it was like to feel small and scared. That’s what he saw.

Jen: That is amazing. That gave me goosebumps. That feels right. That feels true to form. That feels on brand for Fred Rogers. That is exactly what I would think he would say.

It’s just great. We are lucky. We are lucky to have lived in the era of Fred Rogers. His legacy lives on through your work. You have to be so proud of this movie. You definitely should be. It’s really beautiful. It’s really, really special. It’s obviously going to be a bananas smash hit, it’s going to go through the roof. So, congratulations in advance.

Noah: Thank you.

Jen: You guys have made it out of the coffee shop.

Noah: Yeah!

Jen: I’m really glad for you.

Jen:   I want to ask one last question and then I’ll let you go. This is a question for you personally. We ask every guest we have on the show this question, in every series. And you can answer it however you want. It can be something really serious and sweet, or it can just be the dumbest thing you ever said. But this is the question: what is saving your life right now? We’ll start with you, Noah.

Noah: I would say my family is saving my life right now. My wife, Robin, and I have been married for fifteen years. She’s been with me from all [my time in] the coffee shops.

Jen: For sure.

Noah: Through all of it. We’re having what’s called a moment, right now. When the moment happens, it’s hard to appreciate it, and it’s hard to appreciate what you already have.

Jen: That’s good.

Noah: And I think that they—my wife, my mom, and my two daughters—every day are just living it joyfully with me.

Jen: That’s great.

Noah: And I think that, for me right now, that  is what’s really saving my life.

Jen: That’s fantastic. I love it. How old are your girls?

Noah: Almost twelve and ten.

Jen: Yeah. Those are good ages right there. How about you, Micah?

Micah: If I didn’t say my family, that’d mean I’m a bad person.

Jen: I know, you’re a real jerk now. Let’s just say if you don’t want to say that, we can just assume.

Micah: I do, actually. My wife is entering her third trimester right now.

Jen: Wow.

Micah: And I have a three-year-old. I’ve got to give credit where credit is due to my three-year-old for just reminding me that none of this actually matters in kind of a great way. Noah and I have had to go to some pretty ridiculous, very Hollywood events, and sometimes we’re getting our photos taken. One time, a couple of weeks ago, we had someone over to do my wife’s makeup, and then prepare me to be photographed.

Jen: To be fancy.

Micah: Which meant that I got to have makeup put on me.

Jen: That seems delightful.

Micah: So my three-year-old, in her Elsa princess dress, watching her dad getting makeup put on him, was lovely, and a little humiliating, and just felt right. It was like, This is ridiculous, we are just playing dress up, we’re all doing make believe, we’re all in this huge game of pretend.That counts for something, especially as everyone around us forgets to breathe. We sometimes do, too.

Jen: That’s so great. You guys, thank you for saying yes to this. I was so excited that I was going to get to talk to you both today, and I’m really proud of what you’ve done. And you should be too. I cannot wait for everybody to go see it. It’s going to be the talk of the town.

Noah: Thank you.

Jen: Thanks for coming on the show today. And you can just count me in your corner as it rolls out into the world. We’ll cheer it on in every possible way.

Micah: Thank you so much, Jen. What a pleasure.

Noah: Thank you.

Jen: Thanks, you guys. Isn’t it great to feel excited for two guys like that? For their success, for the fruition of their hard work?

I saw a screening of the movie back in September, and it was really powerful. It’s not necessarily what you think. It’s complex, and it brings a lot of feelings to the screen, and darkness, and sadness. It was really special. I thought about it for so long, I brought all my kids. At one point, at a really poignant moment in the movie, I’m wiping away tears, and Caleb, my senior, is sitting next to me, and he’s like, “Mom, me too.” Which is, “Pass down the Kleenex.”

I was thrilled to get to talk to them, having experienced their work now, and then realize how much heavy lifting went into it. How much work, how many years. So great. You’re going to want to see it, you guys. I promise you that. Really grateful to have Micah and Noah on today. So, hope you guys enjoyed that, can’t wait to hear what you think of the Mister Rogers movie. I think you’re going to love it, I think it’s going to spark amazing discussion in our community, so I look forward to that.

Hey, everybody, thank you for being here today. Thank you for tuning in, subscribing, downloading, listening, you are the absolute greatest. Have a good one.

Narrator: That’s it for today’s show. Hope you enjoyed this chat. Be sure to subscribe to my mom’s podcast and give it a “thumbs up” rating if you like it. From the whole Hatmaker family, hope you have a great week and see you next time!

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