From the time she was a child growing up in China, Ranran Meng loved drawing. She was fascinated by the arts, so her parents invested in the passion, sending her to study watercolors, sketching, and traditional Chinese painting. The more she learned, the more she hungered for more, and as she grew, she started teaching herself graphic design and manga, wanting to one day have the world see her work.
Now, she has more than achieved that childhood dream, with millions around the globe seeing her work on many well-known movies and television shows. As a compositor, she uses her artistic eye to finish the visuals of a production, and her talent can be seen in hits like tick, tick… BOOM!, Stillwater, The Devil All the Time, Succession, Motherless Brooklyn, and so many more.
Working on so many projects with Hollywood’s top stars, Meng still remains modest despite being at the top of her field. When she started working on A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood back in 2019, she was honored to be working on a film starring the iconic Tom Hanks, and as the film honored Mr. Rogers, an individual Meng had long admired, it felt like an amazing opportunity.
Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer, portrayed by Emmy winner Matthew Rhys, is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about empathy, kindness, and decency from America’s most beloved neighbor.
“This is a journey of human nature, of individuals exploring themselves and growing for the viewers. The movie is also very healing. There are many emotional ups and downs you go through while watching, but overall there is a very peaceful feeling. Watching it made me feel happy,” says Meng.
Meng had many tasks in order to bring A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood to the big screen. She managed the pre-processing for every shot in the film, essentially providing the base for the rest of the visual effects team. She also worked on combining green screen shots with background footage for many key scenes in the film. She worked well with the rest of the VFX team, saying the comradery was a highlight of working on the film.
The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7th 2019, and was theatrically released in the United States on November 22, 2019, by Sony Pictures Releasing. It grossed $68 million worldwide, and holds a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. On top of this, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood was chosen by Time magazine as one of the ten best films of the year and was nominated for an Academy Award. Meng is so proud that she played a part in this incredible success, and even happier to have shared such an important story.
“Everybody knows Mr. Rogers, and I am very proud that I could contribute my talents to a film that tells his story so beautifully. I hope that in the future I can have the same experience working on something that has such a positive influence on people,” says Meng.
If you haven’t seen it yet, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is available to stream on Netflix.