What if you could have one more day with someone who passed away?  How would you spend it?  What could you learn? 

These are the questions posed in an upcoming two-hour television event motion picture, “Oprah Winfrey Presents:  Mitch Albom’s For One More Day,” airing this Sunday night, December 9 on ABC.

Starring Academy Award®-winning actress Ellen Burstyn and Emmy Award®-winning actor Michael Imperioli, “For One More Day” is the story of a man whose mother’s death and the details surrounding it have haunted him for years.  His resulting depression and alcoholism have caused him to lose his family, and when he finds out that he’s missed his own daughter’s wedding because he wasn’t invited, he decides to take his own life.

Through one last gift from heaven, however, he encounters his mother again in their hometown, and gets to spend one last day with her – the day he missed and always wished he'd had. During their touching encounter, Charley discovers some secrets about his mother, his childhood, and himself that, if he chooses to let the truth sink in, may have the power to release his soul from its torment.

We had the privilege of interviewing the movie’s writer and producer, Mitch Albomwhose book of the same title was the basis for this movie. …

So, you have several best-selling books, and now screenplays and movies out there. Did you always want to move from books to movies, and was yours the typical Hollywood process of having doors slammed in your face?
Actually, no. There was nothing typical about it. It was actually kind of an accident.  I was a sports writer for much of my career, perfectly content to keep doing that. But then in 1995 I visited with my old professor, Morrie Schwartz, who was dying from Lou Gehrig’s disease. I went every Tuesday to his house, and I drilled him about what was important to him in life and what wasn’t.  I decided to record all this and try to sell his memoirs to pay his medical bills.  This became Tuesdays with Morrie.  I got paid for it, and I gave the money to him. I was all ready to go back to my life as sportswriter, and then the book really took off, and everywhere I went, people wanted to talk about the book; not the sports writing. I visited hospitals, hospices, and universities, and these sorts of issues became the basis of my next movies. My books and movies became what life was about. I’ve now given up planning. I’m all about letting it happen.

How was it moving from writing books to moviemaking?
Again, it all just kind of happened. They came to me and basically said we want to make a movie out of your book.  I’ve been amazed at all that’s come about since. …  In my mind, no one pays attention to the writer.  We’re behind-the-scenes people, but I’m happy my stories are finding their way out there.  It’s interesting to travel around and talk to people and hear the feedback. I’ve had some people talk about my The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and they’ll say, “I love that movie!”  I say, “You know it’s a book, too, don’t you?  And they go “Really?  You’re kidding!”  I’m happy to have people know my stories … to reach a different audience than I have before.

How did you connect with Oprah, the lady with the Midas Touch?
I met Oprah when the book Tuesdays came out.  Apparently she was one of the first to read it, and she invited me onto her show—to speak for the last five minutes on death and dying.  I went and met her there, and soon she and her producer said they’d like to make a movie out of my book. I almost laughed.  After all, it’s just two guys sitting in a room. …  But okay.  It came out in ’97, and I’ve known Oprah ever since. She always asked that when I come out with a new book, she’ll get a first look.  Earlier I’d sent her Five People You Meet, but they said it was too big … that they liked smaller stories. … This had war, amusement parks, accidents. … When I sent Tuesdays, I got a quick call that same week.  They said, “We love this story! Could we have it?  Of course I said sure—even before it came out as a book.