Have a Little Faith premieres at a sold out Emagine Royal Oak

Bradley Whitford and Laurence Fishburne in Have a Little Faith
(from freep.com)
Have a Little Faith, the made-for-TV movie based on Mitch Albom's bestselling novel, premiered yesterday at Emagine Royal Oak. The entire theater complex was reserved for the premiere, and the VIP party started at 5:30pm with food and drinks. Albom and some of the cast, including Laurence Fishburne, Martin Landau, and Bradley Whitford, arrived on the red carpet around 6pm, and the movie started playing at 7pm.

All of the proceeds from the event went to the A Hole in the Roof Foundation and the Rabbi Albert Lewis Fund. Albert Lewis was the rabbi in the movie (and in real life) with whom Albom has a close connection, as he was the rabbi of the synagogue in his hometown. Albom presented the charities with two $30,000 checks at the screening, a result of the monies raised from the VIP premiere ($125/ticket) and general admission tickets ($35/ticket), and Emagine Royal Oak provided the food and drinks at the premiere for free.

Bradley Whitford, who plays Albom
in the movie
I got the chance to chat with Bradley Whitford before the screening about Detroit and the novel. He said he knew Mitch [Albom] from Tuesdays [with Morrie], which he loved. He also "randomly knew about him because he went to journalism school with his brother, at Columbia."

On Detroit, he said: "I loved filming in Detroit. I loved the ballpark and Cliff Bell's, this old bar by the ballpark with wooden ceilings where they play jazz. It's a great place." He also said that he read the script before the book, and it was a complete "no-brainer" to get involved with the project, especially once he knew that Laurence Fishburne and Jon Avnet (the director) were already attached.

At the "Talk Back" after the screening, Mitch Albom spoke, and mentioned Laurence as well, including the changing role he plays in the movie, as he plays the pastor at different parts of his life. "To come in one day and be 28, and the next be 45, I don't know how any actor does it, and I certainly don't know how any actor does it on such a remarkably high level. This movie really took off the day that Laurence Fishburne said that he would play Henry Covington."

HALF poster on the red carpet

I also had the fortune of sitting next to Nancy Jonas, from Farmington Hills, who was an extra in the Temple Israel (West Bloomfield) scenes. She is a member of the temple and got an email blast saying that they needed extras. She showed up at the set with six changes of clothes: "They had a wardrobe lady who looked through what we had to see what she liked. They kept us busy the whole day; it was interesting. We were filming at Temple Israel, which is a reform synagogue in West Bloomfield, and in the movie it's a conservative synagogue on the East Coast, but they liked the synagogue."

She added: "A lot of the congregants came as extras. We got paid, and they served breakfast and lunch, and then pizza when you waited in line to turn in your paperwork. It was about 90 degrees outside but we were pretending it was winter, and everyone was wearing coats, scarves, gloves, and galoshes."

Have a Little Faith was primarily filmed in Detroit, at the real-life places that Albom mentions in the book, and it includes prominent locations such as Ford Field and Comerica Park. The movie will be shown on ABC as a Hallmark Hall of Fame Production on Sunday, November 27th at 9pm EST.

Check back tomorrow for my review of the film, and as always, feel free to follow me on Facebook and @yesnofilms on Twitter.

Mingling before the VIP party, in Emagine's lobby

The ENTIRE Emagine complex was devoted to the HALF screening
Actress Anika Noni Rose, from The Princess and the Frog (voice)
and Dreamgirls
Actor Martin Landau
Mitch Albom hugs Melinda McGraw, who plays his wife in the film
Mitch Albom and actor Bradley Whitford
Actresses Melinda McGraw and Anika Noni Rose
Anika Noni Rose on the red carpet
Laurence Fishburne, in the Green Room
During the dinner buffet, scenes from the movie were displayed
on video screens atop the bowling alley
Panel after the movie: Anika Noni Rose, Martin Landau,
Langston and Laurence Fishburne
Laurence Fishburne and Mitch Albom
Coat check sign

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