There’s a new film financier around town: the unapologetic Trump-loving, born-again Christian conservative founder of My Pillow, who is sure to stand out in Hollywood.
Michael Lindell, worth an estimated $300 million, tells The Hollywood Reporter he has plowed $1 million into Unplanned, an upcoming feature that was shot in secret due to its critical take on Planned Parenthood.
His investment amounts to one-sixth the entire production budget of Unplanned, which comes from some of the same filmmakers who were behind God’s Not Dead and I Can Only Imagine, a couple of Christian films that did well at the box office, earning $61 million and $84 million, respectively.
Lindell also has a cameo in Unplanned that’s sure to raise eyebrows in certain circles, as he is seen bulldozing a Planned Parenthood site to make way for the headquarters of an anti-abortion group called 40 Days for Life. “I’m pro-life and I’m happy to do it,” Lindell says.
Unplanned is the second movie Lindell helped fund, the first being Church People, a Christian comedy starring Stephen Baldwin that is in postproduction. Lindell has a cameo in that film as well. “It was difficult. I have a spirit of unworthiness so I had to get over my shyness,” he says.
“I don’t get into things for the money; I get into them if the message is right,” Lindell says.
Lindell has become a controversial figure among the political left, immune to calls from activist groups to yank his advertising from conservative talk-radio shows and The Ingraham Angle on Fox News after host Laura Ingraham insulted a survivor of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“When they tell me to back down, I double down, and my sales go up,” says Lindell, who handed out 10,000 My Pillows to hurricane victims in Florida earlier this month.
Lindell, 57, is a former cocaine and alcohol addict who founded My Pillow in 2004. Today, he employs 1,600 people in Minnesota and he has sold 43 million of his open-cell, poly foam products, one of which President Donald Trump says he sleeps on at the White House. Lindell stood near Trump last month at the signing of a bill targeting opioid addiction.
“I’ve prayed about everything I’ve done,” Lindell says. “I met Donald Trump before he was president and I didn’t know a thing about politics. I walked out of his office thinking there was no better man in this world that I would like to be my president.”
The third movie Lindell intends to bankroll will be based on his upcoming book, What are the Odds? From Crack Addict to CEO, proceeds of which are earmarked for his charitable organizations, the Lindell Foundation and Lindell Recovery Network. He says he’s in the process of learning about the film industry inside and out, preparing for the making of a movie based on his life story.
Because of My Pillow infomercials that have aired on TV roughly 7 million times, Lindell is a recognizable figure, and his strong religious beliefs and support for Trump has landed him on television a few more times lately, with minimal backlash thus far from the president’s detractors.
“I can pretty much go on any channel and talk about Jesus or Donald Trump, and I don’t get attacked like you would think because I’m straightforward and I tell it like it is,” he says.