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Have A Little Faith (TV)
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Laurence Fishburne, Bradley Whiford, Martin Landau
Henry Covington was a Detroit preacher who overcame – along with his wife, Annette, played by Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose ("Dreamgirls," "Caroline, Or Change") – a life mired in drugs and crime. Mitch Albom, portrayed in the movie by Bradley Whitford ("The West Wing," "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip"), met the reverend-in-recovery when he wrote newspaper columns about homeless people and homeless shelters. Covington's I Am My Brother's Keeper Church provided food and a place -- on the church floor -- where homeless people could sleep. The other central character in Albom's book and movie is New Jersey Rabbi Albert Lewis, played by Academy Award winner Martin Landau ("Ed Wood," "Entourage"). "The Reb," as Albom calls him, asks Albom – who had briefly attended the rabbi's synagogue as a child -- to write his eulogy. On the surface, these two larger-than-life characters, the charismatic African-American preacher and the feisty, funny rabbi, could hardly be more different. But they each in their own way profoundly affect the writer. It's a story about life's purpose – losing belief and finding it again – and about the divine spark inside all of us. One man's journey is really everyone's story.
Have A Little Faith (TV) | Preview
Albom Wants Faith to Unite, Not Divide
Once again, I found this to be the case in talking to Mitch Albom, best selling author of the new Hallmark Hall of Fame film Have a Little Faith. With the imminent release of his TV film, we chatted a bit about his writing in general, and his specific hopes for this film's impact.
RM: In the movie, there is a line from the rabbi, "What's your glory?" Could you describe what your glory is?
MA: I would say it's still probably unfolding; I think you're kind of taught your glory as you grow. At the moment, I think it's taking the ability that God gave me, the ability to tell a story: really, it's the only talent I have and I've always had it. Even when I was a kid telling stories at the dinner table I could entertain people. I always wanted to do something creative and go into a creative world. Then as you get older you start to want to make a difference; you realize that you can't just live a life of taking and doing for yourself—it's not satisfying. So being able to take the talent God gave me and write stories that move people and get them to maybe make the world a little bit better, to call attention to a church with a hole in its roof, or a homeless shelter, or an orphanage in Haiti... It's think that's my— That's what God has in mind for me glory-wise.
RM: In the film, you say to the rabbi, "I came because you needed something. I kept coming because I needed something." How would you describe what you needed?
MA: I think I needed somebody to remind me where I came from. I had wandered a long way off from my roots. I was one of those people who was happy to get away from my roots. I wanted to get out of that little town, I wanted to see the world, do big things. You tend to associate, when you come from a small town where a lot of people all know one another, that that is what is holding me back in some way, and it's small. But what I learned was what was small was my thinking. And when I was drawn back over and over, I realized he was bringing out the best of my background. Helping me see that I should have been proud of my faith and my roots.
RM: What was your desired impact for Have a Little Faith?
MA: Well, probably two main points. One, if there are people out there that are like I was twelve years ago, that have kind of wandered away from their faith, I want to tell them that it's not too late to wander back. It's not a one-way street. To be able to say, "You know, what I learned when I was young might make sense now, even though there was a period in my life where I was cynical about it."
And I guess the other point that I would like to make is that we are more alike than different. This is the story of two very different looking faiths. Black and white, inner city and suburban, Christian and Jewish, rich and poor, and in almost every way opposite ends of the spectrum, yet there is an enormous similarity between these two men, and between faith when it is purely practiced. I think is something that unites us. You can look at someone and if they are practicing their faith purely and gracefully and quietly, you can say, "I admire that," even if it doesn't look exactly like yours. And instead of faith being something that divides us all the time, which is what the media tends to do with it, and what news events tend to do with it. I mean, all that's ever reported on is extreme religious fanatics that did this or said that. And it makes everybody angry. But I think if you focus on the quiet parts of how faith can be lived, it can actually pull us together.
Have a Little Faith airs Sunday November 27 on ABC, 9/8 Central.
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