Mister Rogers

Director Morgan Neville tells the behind-the-scenes story of ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’

Imagine the biggest summer blockbuster, jam-packed with the most explosions, gunplay and violence possible. Then replace all that with radical displays of kindness, empathy and tolerance, and you have “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”, opening nationally on June 8, might affect us a little more here in Pittsburgh, long-time home to the world’s greatest neighbor, Fred Rogers. But the documentary aims unerringly at the heart, even if you grew up elsewhere watching “Captain Kangaroo” or “Pokemon.”

Be prepared for a compelling look at a Pittsburgher who impacted the young lives of generations of Americans.

Filmmaker Morgan Neville — an Oscar winner for Best Documentary (“20 Feet from Stardom”) — started the process by watching video and film of Fred Rogers.

“As a filmmaker, it was as rich a subject as you could hope for,” says Neville. “Sometimes, you have to make do with very little. Here, the biggest problem was digesting mountains of material. We watched every episode, every outtake, speeches, home movies.”

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