‘Little House on the Prairie’: Jason Bateman Says Michael Landon ‘Had a Huge Influence’ on Him

Little House on the Prairie ran from 1974 to 1983, and in its ninth season the show was renamed Little House: A New Beginning. Jason Bateman appeared in the seventh and eighth seasons as James Ingalls. While speaking to Variety, Bateman revealed that Michael Landon, who portrayed his adoptive father Charles Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie, greatly inspired him growing up.

Jason Bateman
Jason Bateman | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Jason Bateman on working on ‘Little House on the Prairie’

Little House on the Prairie was Bateman’s first TV show and his first prominent acting role. To Bateman, the cast and crew of Little House on the Prairie were like a family. To this day, Bateman remembers the friendliness on set.

“The only thing that I remember really soaking in was that first big job on Little House on the Prairie. That group of actors has been together since Bonanza, and the way in which everybody functioned was very familial,” Bateman told Variety.

He continued, “It was a warm place, and I remember in the few years that followed, when I would end up on sets that were less functional.”

Michael Landon ‘influenced’ Jason Bateman on ‘Little House on the Prairie’

Landon not only played Charles Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie, but also directed, wrote, and served as an executive producer on the show. While starring on the show with Landon, Bateman found this to be inspiring.

“Michael Landon was somebody who had a huge influence on me in the way he led that set as a director, as an exec producer, as a writer and actor and as somewhat of a father figure for me,” said Bateman. “He was the George Clooney of that time: The crew loved him, the industry loved him, guys wanted to be him and women wanted to be with him.”

Michael Landon was like a father on the set of ‘Little House on the Prairie’

The set of Little House on the Prairie felt like spending time with family in part because of Landon. To the child actors on the show, Landon was known to act like a surrogate father.


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“He gave me so much advice…the overall idea that he pounded into me, from a little girl, into my brain was that nothing’s more important than ‘Home & Family’; no success, no career, no achievements, no accomplishments, nothing’s more important than loving the people you love and contributing to a community,” Melissa Gilbert said in a 2015 interview on That’s Entertainment.

Jason Bateman on being a child actor

In recent years, Bateman has appeared in hit movies including Hancock, The Switch, and Horrible Bosses. He also starred in the TV show Arrested Development. Starting with Little House on the Prairie, Bateman was able to learn how the entertainment industry works.

“You’re constantly trying to get hired, and if you do get the job, that job ends in a matter of weeks, and then you’re going on another job interview. An actor is constantly faced with those stakes, almost on a daily basis, and it’s a pressure cooker,” he told Variety. “Less so for a kid, because you’re not supporting a family, but you start to understand how things work pretty quickly.”