The Way – Talking With Emilio Estevez

by Yo Snyder

Emilio Estevez’s film The Way hits Blu-Ray and DVD on February 21st.
It’s a story about a father and son, about last wishes, and about
learning to be comfortable with who we are. We recently had a chance to
talk with Emilio about the film, and despite the extremely brief time,
we still learned a lot.

Yo: So I know that you had your dad
[Martin Sheen] star in this movie, and I was curious; what’s it like to
get to boss your dad around since you’re the director? Did you get any
payback for all those times when we was telling you what to do?

Well, you know this is the third time I’ve directed him, and each time
I’m a little tougher on him. No, in truth I adore working with him, I
adore directing him, he’s my favorite actor that I’ve worked with, and I
think that he’s a joy. And I think it’s probably the best performance
he’s given in many, many years in a motion picture.

Yo: Why did you want to tell this story? What was it about it that made you say I want to make sure that story gets told?

Well I think it’s for a couple of reasons. You know my son and my
father went to Spain in 2003 and my son was working as his assistant on
the West Wing and it was between seasons three and four. And off they
went to Spain to check out The Camino, because my dad had always wanted
to see it. My son met a gal while he was there, fell in love, and ended
up moving to Spain. They’ve been married since 2009.  So, I figured if I
want to spend some time with my son, I better figure out how to do a
picture in Spain. So my dad kept giving me a little nudge and saying,
“Hey how about we go over to Spain and make a movie?” You know, I’m all
about trying to keep the jobs here. This idea of making a picture
overseas was noting I wanted to do. I wanted to make sure the the film
business not only does it need to stay in the United States, but it also
needs to stay in California if it can because there’s so many
technicians here out of work and the last thing in the world I wanted to
do was go over to Spain and make a movie. But obviously this is the
sort of film that couldn’t be made anywhere but there. So we began to
talk about a story, and talk about what the film would be about, and you
know I just love this idea that we’re all on a path. We’re all on our
own Camino, our own journey, and it’s one of our first instincts; after
breathing and eating, it’s to get up on two feet and take that step and
move forward. So I just loved the metaphor of that.

Yo: What do you hope people will take away from this movie? What do you want them to be thinking about?

Well I think the overall theme in the film is that we’re not alone,
we’re not walking alone, we’re walking in community. Whether you find
that community in your church or in your family or in both. These are
very strange and very interesting times. We’re bombarded every day, you
turn your TV and you watch, I don’t know, an hour or two hours of TV and
you’re going to come away from watching TV feeling that there’s a lot
wrong with you. There are parts of your body that don’t work, there are
pains you didn’t know you had, you better get your teeth whitened, you
better go on that diet, you better take that pill to make you happier,
and there’s not enough messages that tell you that, hey man, you’re
beautifully imperfect. You’re beautifully and wonderfully flawed, and
that’s what makes you human, and God loves you in your imperfections.
There’s not enough of those messages and I think the film really
celebrates that. It celebrates our brokenness, it celebrates our flaws
and our imperfections, and at the end of the film, all of these
characters arrive at the place where they are fine and they are
comfortable in their own skin.

Yo: I like that phrase, beautifully imperfect. I might have to steal that from you.

Emilio: Please do, man. It’s not…I didn’t invent it, but I’m living it.

Yo: (laughs) Yeah, you and me both. Hey, thanks so much for your time.

Emilio: Of course, thank you, thanks for having me.