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Michael Landon Jr. Discusses Family, New Movie

Rebecca Grace/Teresa Neumann Reporting : May 21, 2006 : AFA/Agape Press

"I don't want to do anything to ruin my testimony. I don't believe art is the end-all. I don't believe it supercedes morality or our God, our Creator. So I'm not going to do anything that I feel He would object to. I just won't."

The following are excerpts from an interview with Michael Landon, Jr. by the American Family Journal. To read the entire interview, click on the link below.

AFAJ: Tell me a little bit about your own childhood.

Michael Landon Jr. Landon: My parents, they lived a really decent, moral life. My father was amazing through my childhood. He was not your typical Hollywood star by any means. He was home for dinner. He spent his time with his family on the weekends. He was not involved in the social side of Hollywood. He was the most affectionate, loving [person] .... He was so funny! He was really my everything growing up. The affection and the admiration that the public had for my father were by-products of who he was personally, as well. [But] when I was 15 years old, that all changed. I didn't know exactly at the time what was going on, but my parents started to struggle in their relationship. My father did have an affair, and my parents divorced. The family was broken. It took a while for healing to take place.

AFAJ: How has this pain molded the way you define family?

Landon: God set it up a specific way, and when we ... break God's plan it falls apart. And that, hence, is why there is so much pain in it. It's because of that pain that it is a reminder to myself that I never want this to happen to my children or to my wife. Whatever is broken in the relationship, you need to get it fixed before you call it quits. You need to mend it, to try to salvage it before you divorce. AFAJ: So what do you do, in addition to vacationing, to protect and strengthen your family bond?

Landon: We pray. We are very open. We share. There is nothing our children can't come to us with or talk to us about. We try to protect as best we can what comes into our home and that includes the television, the movies they watch, the access to the Internet -- all of these things play in as a factor. Unfortunately in today's world, there is no way to completely isolate your children from hearing or seeing certain things .... But when they come home, I want them to know that they are completely safe and that these things will not invade this place.

AFAJ: Your passion for protecting the family obviously spills over into your filmmaking. Why is it important to you to create family-friendly films?

Landon: First of all, I grew up on these types of films. It's the same kind of films my father made, and I was very proud of my father for his work. He left a certain legacy for us, for his family that I'm also very proud of. So that is definitely a reason why. The other is because I want to leave the same type of legacy for my family, as well. [Plus] I don't want to do anything to ruin my testimony. I don't believe art is the end-all. I don't believe it supercedes morality or our God, our Creator. So I'm not going to do anything that I feel He would object to. I just won't.

AFAJ: What was it like getting to this point?

Landon: Janette Oke pioneered the Christian fiction genre. The material to start with was very rich. [But] it took me close to 10 years to convince somebody to do it. But when Hallmark did do it, it ended up being 40 percent higher than anything else that they had ever aired on that channel. Each time one of these movies airs, it becomes the highest rated movie in the history of the channel. It's filling a need that I had with my own family, just knowing that there are a lot of people who are like-minded wanting desperately just to sit down and enjoy a film they don't have to worry about -- [one] that speaks to their hearts that speaks to their faith. So that's what I tried to do.

AFAJ: What can we expect in the future when it comes to films in this series?

Landon: We've done four now. I just finished Love's Abiding Joy. Fox, who actually distributes these films, ... is allowing people like myself to actually have a voice in the marketplace .... Fox has opened up their doors and has actually branded their name as Fox Faith for these types of films. So I'm thankful to Fox for doing that. I believe they've ordered two more, which makes a total of six of the films.

AFAJ: So when people hear the name Michael Landon, Jr., what do you hope comes to their minds?

Landon: I hope in some way that it draws them closer to God. I want to be an excellent storyteller. I want to be excellent as a director, and these things are very important to me in the craft itself. But I would like my work to draw them closer to God, to our Lord, Christ.

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