Local celebrities and movie stars walked the red carpet along with for a sneak preview of Albom's Have a Little Faith Wednesday night at the theater in Royal Oak.
Attending the premiere were Lawrence Fishburne, Martin Landau, Bradley Whitford, Matthew Stafford, Carman Harlan, Bernie Smilovitz, game show host Chuck Woolery and others.
Albom, who lives in Farmington Hills, introduced the cast members to the crowd, calling them gracious.
“The fact is they didn’t need to do this. This is not contractual. This is not part of their obligations," Albom said. "They don’t get paid anything for it. They did it because I asked them to come help us do something important in Detroit. And everyone of them said yes.”
Proceeds from the sold-out VIP event will help A Hole in the Roof Foundation and the Rabbi Albert Lewis Fund. Albom presented checks for $30,000 to each.
Landau played the role of Lewis, the rabbi who died in 2008 and upon whose story the book was based. "I was very flattered to be chosen to play the role of such an exceptional man," Landau said. "It was one of the most important roles I've ever played. I wanted to get it exactly right for Mitch because he meant so much to him."
Bradley Whitford, who played Albom in the movie, said: "The only voices of religion we hear are the exclusions. There are so many religions out there who focus on radical inclusion and radical forgiveness. We need more of that, and that is what this movie is all about."
The film is based on Albom's 2009 New York Times bestseller of the same name. It's the true story of Rabbi Lewis and Henry Covington (played by Laurence Fishburne), pastor of I Am My Brother's Keeper Ministries.
It was very important to Albom that the filming for the movie take place in Detroit – where a large part of the story is focused.
All guests, who poured into Emagine's 10 theaters for the premiere, received an autographed copy of Albom’s book. On Nov. 27, Have A Little Faith will be televised on ABC stations.
The film and book portray a message of unique friendships, loyalty and community. "Be satisfied and be grateful" said the late Rabbi "Reb" Lewis to Albom shortly before the rabbi's death in 2008.