An Interview with Landon Henneman

{By Ellery Sadler}

The first time I saw his picture, I knew who he looked like: James Dean.

And I knew that I needed an interview. Not only does he look like James Dean, he is a fantastic actor, he has a great perspective on life and film, and he’s also a surfer. The star of Rob Diamond’s new movie  Wayward, Landon Henneman is one of the coolest guys you’ll meet.

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Me: What is it like being an actor?

Landon: It’s not what you think. You have to be very vulnerable and willing to actually show pieces of yourself to the public. As a kid I always liked stories, I dressed up like Prince Phillip and chased dragons. I was a little bit of a show off growing up, and that’s kind of continued in my acting. So for Wayward, I did my own stunts. It’s really fun (but it does make your insurance go up.)


Me: What is your favorite part of being an actor?

Landon: Acting is just the best thing in the world. I love being able to influence people and make the audience feel like they are just spying on moments they shouldn’t be seeing – to make them believe it is real. It’s also great to get to work with the other actors and just get to connect with people.


Me: So tell me a little bit about Wayward.

Landon: Well, it’s a modern day retelling of the story of the Prodigal Son. I think it’s really relatable (I mean, everyone is a prodigal in some sense of the word). And with the low budget, we were able to create a really powerful, really real movie. It portrays so much power.


Me: How does your faith impact your work?

Landon: Well, I’ve only been acting for about a year and a half. I was going to move to L.A., but I knew that I would have to compromise my principles (there are good people everywhere, but I knew that most of the films being made there just didn’t line up with my faith). I knew that with every audition I’d be doing things or saying things that went against my beliefs. But I met Rob Diamond and we talked for four hours the first time we met. And I decided to stay in Utah.


My faith is a daily effort. I want to be a part of films that inspire and uplift people. And His work and glory is to bring us back to Him – that’s what I want to be a part of. So, you know, as a general rule I don’t watch R rated movies. Or things like that.

I just didn’t want to disintegrate spiritually. I wanted to keep an eternal perspective.


Me: What advice would you give someone wanting to join the business?

Landon: Have fun. Don’t be afraid to give it a shot. And don’t be afraid to stand out and be different. Be part of something greater than yourself. There’s nothing negative about it – go for it! It’s easy to comply with the world. I bet 90% of actors hope to be famous or rich. About 10% actually love acting.


Me: Do you think film reflects or directs the culture?

Landon: Directs. Media is ridiculously influential. And I don’t want to be in a film that is destructive. So many people go to the movies, it really directs society.


Me: What’s your secret indulgence?

Landon: Ice cream. Specifically a Reese’s peanut butter cup shake at Dairy Queen.


Me: What is the most important part of a movie?

Landon: Well, all parts of a movie are interlocking and really important. But I really love music. I think that the soundtrack is crucial. Movies can degrade you, and music can too. The message, the story, the writing, needs to be an experience. Does it inspire good? Is it just neutral? Or is it actually bad? Movies need to be applicable to real life.


I love what Rob says: “I’m not the full painting, just a color in the painting.”


Me: What are you working on now?

Landon: I’m writing a screenplay! I love story telling. And I’ve also been doing a lot of auditions and I just did a trailer for a book. Auditions are really interesting because you have to make them feel that you are being truthful. You have to make it real. So whatever the character is – a subtle accent, a passionate scene, a shy persona – has to be portrayed in a very brief timespan.

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Me: What is your favorite movie?

Landon: Braveheart and Gladiator. Oh, and Chasing Mavericks and Inception. I love movies where I’m never bored, ones that make me feel the most. I like to be entertained, but it also has to have a good message. I like the wow factor. I like to put up posters of my favorite movies in my room. But my room’s kind of small right now so I can’t fit very many.


Me: What’s something most people don’t know about you but you wish they did?

Landon: Something I wish people knew but don’t about me is that I’m very shy and a bit introverted.  So that gets taken as a stuck up, rude or intimidating person even though I consider myself quite down to earth.


Me: If you could be a super hero, which one would you be?

Landon: Thor.

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Me: What music do you listen to when you’re driving fast with the windows down?

Landon: I play anything from the band Anberlin, especially Feel Good Drag.

Or Imagine Dragons – Radioactive.


Me: What is the next thing you’d like to cross off you bucket list?

Landon: Oh wow, there is a lot I want to experience in life. But I guess visiting and surfing in Australia.


Be sure to check back in Summer 2014 to see Landon in his starring role in Wayward: The Prodigal Son. We’re excited to see it!!