'My Father Was a Wildfire'

The only son of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash talks about his parents' faith, their relationship, and their musical legacy.

John Carter Cash is the executive producer of "Walk the Line," a movie opening Friday that recounts the sometimes tempestuous and ultimately triumphant love story of his parents, the singers Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.



It quickly becomes evident from talking to John Carter Cash, 35, the couple's only child together, that in making the film he was seeing through the final wishes of his parents, who died within four months of each other in 2003. Cash, who lives near Nashville and is a music producer, got Joaquin Phoenix to play his father and Reese Witherspoon to play his mother----just as his parents wanted. Cash spoke with Beliefnet about his parents' life together, especially about the unshakable faith that helped them through hard times and became the bedrock for their marriage--as well as his life.

Do you think it's a film a lot of people will enjoy?

Yes, I do. I think people will love it. My parents had a vision for a movie about this that, first of all, told the story of their love affair, their life together, and their early relationship--how they made it through their struggles, how they got together and stayed together. The film succeeds at that greatly. My father and mother both OKed Joaquin and Reese for the parts and were both very positive about Joaquin and Reese doing their own singing. I believe this film stays true to the vision that my parents had. It's a movie about their love and their life, and they set it all up. It was theirs all the way.

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How much does the movie deal with their faith?

My mother's faith becomes very evident in watching the film--her strength in God. The film deals with my father growing up as a young man and his struggles. My father resoundingly professed his faith in God later. It becomes evident early in the film how my father wanted to have faith in the Gospel. But the major focus in the film is their love affair. It's not really a film about their faith. The point where the film stops off is the point where my father truly begins to seek out Christianity. The point where he started is where the film ends. My parents' number-one goal was to have a movie about their life, and how their love helped them come together. I believe we've done that.

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