It’s a very Brady Christmas.
Fans of the hit ‘70s sitcom are getting a special treat this holiday season. On Sunday, Lifetime is premiering its new Christmas movie, “People Presents: Blending Christmas,” which explores how a lovely lady named Emma (Haylie Duff) and her beau Liam (Aaron O’Connell) attempt to bring their families together with “a Bunch… of unexpected guests.”
The family members are played by original “Brady Bunch” stars Barry Williams (Greg Brady), Christopher Knight (Peter Brady), Mike Lookinland (Bobby Brady), Susan Olsen (Cindy Brady) and Robbie Rist (Cousin Oliver), as well as “Brady Bunch” movie stars Jennifer Elise Cox, Beth Broderick, Telma Hopkins and Greg Evigan.
Williams told Fox News he didn’t hesitate to say yes when he was asked to appear in the film.
“It has the kind of message that is sorely needed and much appreciated in these times,” said the former child star. “Christmas has always been special for me personally and also for the Bradys. This will be our third big Christmas movie. And it’s an opportunity for all of us to work together and work together not playing Bradys. So I think that kind of combination was very hard to pass up.”
While the rest of the surviving cast couldn’t appear in this film, the 67-year-old said he’s always game to participate in a project that involves any member of his TV family. The actor shared that they have remained close over the years.
“Because of the experiences that we had in life — filming, promoting the show, traveling, recording, touring — it was very unique and it was challenging,” said Williams. “We had to protect each other. Think of it like being in a little bit of a cocoon and then coming out, only to be recognized and being famous. We were the only ones that could rely on each other. We trusted in each other and got along with each other. So we looked out for another. And I think that bonded us for life.”
Life for Williams has been very different these days. For 11 years, he’s been living in the Ozark Mountains of Branson, Missouri. Knight described it to Fox News as having “a special rural feel that you don’t get right here in the midst of the crowds of LA.”
“There’s a wonderful, wonderful entertainment community here,” said Williams. “Lots of music and shows. It’s all family-oriented. You have the gorgeous mountains and the big lakes. It’s a resort [town]. I did a show here, a full stage production music show, for six and a half years. But I fell in love with the area. So I moved here permanently. I really, really enjoy the outdoor life and the horses. I’m wearing cowboy boots again and a hat. Or I’m cruising around on a lake. Chris can tell you because he’s been a guest of mine here a few times, it’s a pretty special place.”
Williams is aware he’s best known for playing the oldest son of the Brady family. He is proud of the role and how the series has continued to bring families across the country together.
“‘The Brady Bunch’ has been successful, but the reality is its success is compounded by the years that it grows in success,” he explained. “It’s still on 50 years later. It’s more esteemed than it was at the time we were doing it. For whatever reason, it was blessed with this evergreen sensibility that we have ridden along with this thing.
“It might not be absolutely in the foremost of your mind, but it’s out there,” he added. “It’s always alive. There’s a sparkle in anyone who has done the show. They are remembered for it. Perhaps because the show continues to touch people. And those childhood memories are the deepest. For all these years, people continue to remember us and the show through all these different phases in life. It’s been an interesting, magical ride.”
Williams said people still approach him about how much “The Brady Bunch” has impacted their childhoods.
“I always hear, ‘Hey man, I grew up with you. I grew up with your show,’” he said. “We have three generations of people that grew up with us at different times. There are a lot of people our age, some a little younger than that and the grandkids. There has always been a sense of curiosity about us. Now that we’ve grown up, what are our lives like? What’s that world like when the Brady kids are moms, dad, grandmas and grandpas?”
Today, Williams hopes “Blending Christmas” will bring families together just as his show has done for decades now.
“I think we need to take a look at the kind of time capsule that we’re in right now,” he said. “What’s going on, where we are as a country, what’s taking up our news, what’s taking up our times. There’s a definite need and space for something inspirational, uplifting and positive. A break from some of the divisive things. And I think this movie does that. I hope that [viewers] take away [the theme of] family and workability … sort of the Brady all for one, one for all spirit. I think I’ll be pleased with that.”
‘People Presents: Blending Christmas’ premieres Sunday, December 12 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.